Scallops with Mediterranean Salad
Scallops which are infused with bright yellow saffron stock are served atop an orzo salad stuffed in an artichoke cup. Eggplant boats, sun-dried tomato, calamata olives, and greens round out the plate, which is enlivened by saffron and fennel oils.
- Fish Stock (see Basics) or clam juice - 3 cups
- Pinch of saffron
- Bay Scallops - 16
- Sun-dried tomatoes - 1/3 cup
- Olive Oil - 2/3 - 1 cup
- Haricot vert beans - 1/2 pound, blanched
- Salt - 2 teaspoons (optional)
- Orzo pasta - 2/3 cup, uncooked
- Green Bell Pepper - 1/2, finely diced
- Red Bell Pepper - 1/2, finely diced
- Red Onion - 1/4 cup, diced
- Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1 - 2 tablespoons
- Salt to taste
- Artichokes - 6
- Lemons - 2, halved and seeded
- Baby Eggplants
- Garlic - 1 - 2 teaspoons, minced
- Lemon Juice - 2 - 4 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1/4 - 1/2 cup
- Salt - 1 - 2 teaspoons
- Fresh Fennel Bulb - 1
- Water - 2 tablespoons (optional)
- Pernod - 1 teaspoon
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Calamata olives - 1/4 cup, pitted
- Olive Oil - 1/3 cup
- Tomato - 1, peeled, seeded, and diced small
- Mixed salad greens - 1/2 pound
- Caperberries - 12
Bring two cups of the fish stock to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the saffron, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes, or until a bright yellow color appears in the liquid. Drop the scallops in the poaching liquid and remove from heat. Put in a small bowl, cover with plastic, and steep the scallops in the liquid overnight. Lift the scallops with tongs and drain on paper towels. Reserve the liquid.
Put two-thirds of a cup of the scallop poaching liquid in the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl to reconstitute them. Let soak for at least 2 hours. Puree in a blender or food processor with 2/3 to 1 cup of olive oil. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Reserve the oil and sun-dried tomato puree separately for later use.
To make the orzo: Cut the haricots verts into short pieces. Put the remaining scallop poaching liquid in a medium saucepan and bring to a full boil. If using fish stock, add 2 teaspoons of salt; if using clam juice, do not add salt. Add the raw orzo and cook until slightly overcooked; drain and run cool water over it to stop the cooking. Drain well. Mix the orzo, bell peppers, onion, haricot verts, lemon juice, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste.
Fill a 6-quart sauce pot two-thirds full with water and add 2 halved and seeded lemons to the water, juicing them into the water before adding them. Bring to a boil and add the artichokes. Cook 15 minutes, or until they are soft enough to push a knife through the stem area up into the base. Remove and drain. Cut or pull down the leaves and scoop out the choke to expose the heart. Cut down the heart area just enough to expose the inside to make an area large enough to hold the orzo salad. Trim the bases so the artichokes sit flat.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the eggplants on an oiled baking sheet and roast until soft enough to insert a knife. Remove and scoop out the insides; reserve the shells. Put the insides in a small bowl and mash with a fork. For every cup of eggplant, add 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice,1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Juice the fennel bulb in a vegetable juicer to get 2/3 cup of juice. Or, puree in a blender or food processor with 2 tablespoons of water and strain through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing down to extract the juice. Put the juice in a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat until only 1/4 cup remains. Add 1 teaspoon Pernod and remove from heat. Chill, then stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put in a squeeze bottle.
Puree the olives in a blender or food processor with 1/3 cup olive oil.
To serve: Put the reserved saffron oil in a squeeze bottle. If the scallops have been chilled, warm them in a little fish stock. Place the artichoke bottoms on the plates and fill with orzo salad. Put four scallops in each artichoke on top of the salad. Sprinkle diced tomato (concasse) over the scallops. Place a bouquet of salad greens to one side. Stuff the eggplant filling into the eggplant shells and put one on each plate. Drizzle saffron oil and fennel oil around the plates and spoon sun-dried tomato puree and olive puree onto the oils. Garnish with caperberries.