Recipe: Seared Scallops with Mushroom Pan Sauce

0011This outstanding dish was created by Tony Pester, chef at Pescara.
It serves 2 as an appetizer.

4 fresh scallops (U10 or 6 smaller scallops)
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 oz. (or 1 glass) of your favorite white wine
3 Tbsp. butter, cut in cubes
3 oz. wild mushrooms (your favorite)
Kosher salt
Ground Black Pepper

Start by cleaning the little “foot” off of the side of the scallop by peeling it with your fingers. Rinse the scallop under cold water and lay out on paper towels to dry. Season with kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper.
    Have above ingredients ready (minced or cubed as called for) before you start cooking. (Chef’s note for the mushrooms: any variety will work; just be sure they are fresh and cut to an appropriate size to ensure proper cooking. Slice or quarter depending on the mushroom.)
    In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil until it runs across the pan quickly. Add scallops directly to the oil to sear. Add 1 Tbsp. of butter to the pan while they are cooking. Cook about a minute on each side to create a nice color. Use a spoon to baste them if you like. Remember, no color no flavor. (Chef’s note: Browning the whole butter helps coloration and adds a pleasant nuttiness.)
    Remove the scallop; set aside to finish later. While the pan is still hot add the mushrooms to the “dirty” pan; swirl the pan to coat them properly. Let mushrooms brown before you stir them too much. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Depending on the mushrooms, you may need to add a little more oil to the pan. Use good judgement; the mushrooms will burn if there is not enough oil. (Chef’s note: stirring and tossing your mushrooms too much will cause your mushrooms to stew and get slimy, not brown and nutty)
    After the mushrooms have nice color and have shrunk in size, add the garlic, shallot and thyme. Sweat for 1 to 2 minutes. Stirring at this point is crucial to prevent the minced aromatics from burning. Right now your entire kitchen should smell fantastic.
    Taste the mushrooms to be sure the seasoning is correct. If not, adjust the salt and pepper. De-glaze your pan with the white wine. This will lower the temperature of the pan which is crucial to making a proper butter and wine emulsification or “pan sauce” as the dish is titled. Bring the wine back up to a boil; let reduce by half to cook out the alcohol.
    Once the wine is half-way evaporated, add the rest of the butter
(2 Tbsp). Stir to melt butter then turn the heat down; simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Once thickened, add the scallops and juices from scallops back to the pan to warm them through for a few seconds. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. (Chef’s note: Don’t walk away! When the butter is added, the sauce should take less than a minute or two to finish.)
    Serve on warm plates with fresh bread and a little grated Parmesan cheese. A drizzle of Truffle oil will put this dish over the top. Suggested wine pairing: Paco & Lola Albarino (perfect at Pescara with scallops) or Burgans Albarino