Scallops and Sea Urchins with Caviar and Wakame-Sunflower Sprout Salad
Scallops are ground, filled with caviar, and rolled in pieces of somen noodles to create “sea urchins” which are deep-fried to golden brown. They are served on a colorful salad of sprouts, seaweed, carrots, and beets. The scallop sea urchins should be cooked just enough to be opaque, but the caviar in the centers should remain uncooked. The term “dry” scallops indicates that the scallops have not been chemically treated; the recipe will not work with chemically treated scallops.
- Scallop Sea Urchins
- Carrot - 1
- Zucchini - 1
- Dry Scallops - 1 pound
- Chives - 5 to 6, minced
- White Japanese somen noodles - 8 ounces, very fine, broken into 1-inch pieces
- Ossetra caviar - 4 ounces
- Canola oil - for frying
- Spiced salt (recipe below) or fine sea salt to taste
- Sunflower Sprout and Wakame Seaweed Salad
- Sunflower Sprouts - 2 cups
- Japanese seaweed (wakame) - 10 ounces
- Daikon (Japanese radish) - 1/2, julienned very fine
- Carrot - 1 small, peeled and julienned very fine
- Beet - 1 small, peeled and julienned very fine
- Sunflower Seeds - 1/4 cup, toasted
- Carrot and Celery Vinaigrette
- Fresh carrot juice - 8 ounces
- Carrot - 1, peeled, cooked until tender, and pureed
- Rice Wine Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Madras curry powder - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh Ginger - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
- Canola oil - 1/2 cup
- Sea salt to taste
- Madras curry powder - for dusting
- Sunflower Seeds - 1 cup, toasted
- Spiced Salt
- Cumin Seeds - 1 cup
- Fennel Seeds - 1 cup
- Coriander seeds - 1 cup
- Anise seeds - 1 cup
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt - 1 cup
To make the scallop sea urchins: Peel the carrot and cut into 3 chunks. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Bring a pan of water to a boil. Blanch the carrot in the boiling water for 2 minutes, or until just tender; remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice water to stop the cooking. Remove from the ice water bath. Repeat with the zucchini halves, blanching for 1 minute. Chill in the ice water, then drain. Cut the carrot and zucchini in very fine dice.
Remove the muscle from the side of each scallop and discard it. Grind the scallops in a chilled meat grinder with a fine grinding plate. Place the ground scallops in a bowl sitting in a larger bowl of ice. Fold in the carrot, zucchini, and chives. Do not salt at this time. Divide the mixture into 16 portions and flatten each into a thin patty. Place a small spoonful of the caviar in the center of each. Wrap the scallop mixture around the caviar and shape into a ball with the caviar at the center. Check to see that no caviar is exposed. Put the noodle pieces in a shallow bowl and roll the scallop balls in the noodles so that they are completely covered and look like sea urchins.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or heavy, deep pan. Carefully place the scallop sea urchins in the hot oil and fry until they float and are golden brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Do not crowd the pan; fry in batches if necessary, letting the oil return to temperature between batches. Lightly sprinkle the scallop sea urchins with spiced salt or fine sea salt and keep warm until ready to use.
To make the salad: Combine all salad ingredients except the beet julienne and keep chilled until ready to use.
To prepare the vinaigrette: In a small blender, combine the carrot juice, carrot puree, rice wine vinegar, curry powder, and ginger. Blend on high speed for 15 seconds. With the blender on low speed, slowly pour in the oils and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with sea salt.
To serve: Toss the salad with the beet julienne and a little of the vinaigrette. Mound salad in the center of each plate. Arrange 2 scallop sea urchins in the center of each salad and spoon more vinaigrette around each plate. Dust the rims of the plates with curry powder and sunflower seeds.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put all the spices on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Check after 5 minutes; when the seeds are golden brown, remove and let cool to room temperature. Mix the toasted spices with the salt in a bowl and grind the mixture in a spice or coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.