Chili-seared Scallops and Baked Pancetta
Whipped potatoes brightened with sambal -- a chili-based sauce -- serve as a base for scallops which are dipped in a spicy southwestern blend and seared. Pancetta, Italian bacon, is served with the scallops. The dish is drawn together by a citrus-beurre blanc sauce.
- Sambal Potatoes
- Yukon potatoes - 6, large, peeled and boiled until soft to the center
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 8 ounces
- Unsalted Butter - 4 ounces
- Sambal (fresh ground chilies) - 2 tablespoons
- Citrus-Beurre Blanc Sauce
- Orange - 1
- Ruby Grapefruit - 1
- Lime - 1
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Carrot - 1, cut in small dice
- Celery Stalk - 1 inner stalk of celery, with leaves, chopped
- Shallot - 1, minced
- Onion - 1/2, cut in small dice
- Chardonnay - 1/3 cup, or other white wine
- Unsalted Butter - 8 ounces (2 sticks), chilled, cut in small pieces
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, roasted, peeled, seeded, deribbed, and diced
- Green Bell Pepper - 1, roasted, peeled, seeded, deribbed, and diced
- Dark Chili Powder - 1 tablespoon, or to taste
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon, or to taste
- Brown Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Cumin - 1 teaspoon
- Kosher salt - 1 teaspoon
- Black Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Granulated Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
- Scallops - 20, jumbo
- Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Pancetta - 16 round 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta, 16 round 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta, baked until crisp
- Oregano Sprigs - 4, torn into large pieces
To prepare the potatoes: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the potatoes, cream, and butter together. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sambal and whip together. Set aside; keep warm.
To make the sauce: Remove all the rind from each of the citrus fruits and cut the segments out of the membrane. Save the membrane portion of the orange; discard the others. Cut each of the grapefruit segments in half. Set aside. Melt the butter in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, shallot, and onion and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and stir up the juices from the bottom. Cook until the liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Reduce the heat to low. Lift the pan and add 4 to 6 pieces of cold butter, whisking to blend. Squeeze the juice from the reserved orange membrane into the pan. Return the pan to the heat and continue adding the butter, a piece or two at a time, whisking constantly. The sauce will lighten as the butter is incorporated. Work the pan on and off the heat to adjust the temperature so that the butter does not melt and break the sauce; if you see yellow streaks of butter in the pan, quickly take the pan off the heat and whisk in several pieces of cold butter until the sauce combines again. When all the butter has been added, strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve. Fold in the diced peppers and citrus segments. Set aside and keep warm. Beurre blanc keeps well in an insulated container.
To prepare the scallops: Combine the sauce ingredients. Press each end of the scallops in the mixture. Put half the clarified butter in a large saute pan or skillet and sear half the scallops for about 1 minute; turn over and sear for another minute. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining scallops. Cooking in batches gives each scallop more room in the pan; if the scallops are crowded and touch, they will stew more than sear. Warm the pancetta discs in the same pan. Remove and drain on paper towels.
To serve: Pipe a crescent of sambal potatoes slightly to one side on each plate. Spoon sauce and citrus around the rounded side of the potatoes. Overlapping the potatoes slightly, place five scallops along the rounded side of each mound of potatoes. Stand a pancetta disc between each scallop. Place bits of oregano sprigs at the centers of the potato crescents.