Polenta Encrusted Scallops with Roasted Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Chef Chris Nason, Sapphire Grill, Savannah, Ga.


Yield: 24 portions


Golden Tomato Water
6 large gold tomatoes (about 3 pounds), chopped
3 cups chicken stock
3 heads garlic, split (skin on)
3/4 cup white wine
3 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
12 peppercorns
6 bay leaves

Polenta Crust
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
1 bunch fresh lemon thyme leaves (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

12 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) stemmed shiitake mushrooms
12 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) stemmed oyster mushrooms
3 cups olive oil
72 (U 10) dry scallops, side muscles removed
24 sprigs fresh lemon thyme


In large pot, combine all the ingredients for the tomato water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Allow to reduce by 1/3, until tomatoes are completely soft and broken down. Strain through fine sieve or cheesecloth and reserve the liquid. Keep warm. (Makes about 6 cups)

For the Crust: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined.

For each serving, to order: In a small skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil and toss 1 cup of mixed mushrooms briefly to coat with oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. Place in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms become crispy on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Rinse and pat dry 3 scallops and press each one into the polenta mixture on both sides. In a nonstick saute pan, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and sear until golden brown on each side. Plate the scallops in a shallow bowl, distanced equally apart. In the center of each bowl, pile the crispy mushrooms. Ladle 2 ounces of tomato water into each bowl around the scallops and garnish with a sprig of lemon thyme.

This is a very thin sauce and is best if served in a bowl.


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