I finally got to go to The Breslin on Wednesday night! I’ve always wanted to go, but it’s notoriously hard to get a table around 7 PM after work, which is when we went, but my co-worker and I wanted to take another co-worker out to dinner while she was in town visiting from another office. She had never been to New York before, so we felt it was our mission to go somewhere fun and interesting. The Breslin does not take reservations, so we put our name down, honed in on a vacant spot at the bar, and ordered some drinks. I had a cocktail made with bourbon, black tea syrup, lemon juice, orange bitters, and an egg white – I’ll have to try making it on my own soon, because it was extraordinarily good. After drinks, well…it was on to drink number two, as our table was still not ready after 30 minutes of waiting. Finally, midway through my perfectly mild and rich cream ale, we were seated and ordered what ended up being some of the best food I’ve had in the city (the same goes for The Spotted Pig, another April Bloomfield restaurant, so I wasn’t too surprised). We had scrumpets with mint vinegar sauce, which are basically roasted veal deep fried for a crunchy exterior, razor clams with Serrano ham and garlic aioli, chicken liver parfait with toast, blood sausage with a fried duck egg, and curried mussels with chickpeas and flatbread. Needless to say, we were full and happy. After dinner, I went home and finally got around to watching Veep with Kramer. I loved it! It’s good to see something so different on American television – if you haven’t seen Armando Iannucci‘s other work, like In the Loop and The Thick of It, definitely check them out because they are both complete masterpieces.
So, away with what I’ve been up to lately and more about these gorgeous scallops. I don’t buy scallops all the time, but sometimes I see them and they look so plump and delicious that I just cannot pass them up. I once again turned to my spirit animal, Tom Colicchio, to figure out the best way to prepare the scallops with some of the hedgehog mushrooms that I had laying around. Of course, as soon as I flipped open his book, I found a recipe for scallops with mushrooms – how perfect. I decided to add some pea tendrils to the mushrooms, as they add a bright, clean flavor with just a bit of crunch to set off the softness of the mushrooms and the scallops. The flavors in this are clean and simple – all you need are scallions or an onion, garlic, butter, and some fresh herbs, and boom! A well rounded meal that you can whip up in under 30 minutes. Scallops might not seem like a weekday thing to make, but they really can be! They only take about 5 minutes to cook, after all, and they aren’t too expensive if you go to the right place. Kramer and I pretty much just ate these out of the pan, but I decided to plate them nicely for you because, you know, I am a warm, loving, and caring person and I want you to be inspired by this dish. I hope that you are, because I find myself longing for more of these buttery mushrooms and golden scallops already, and the day has hardly begun!
Start cooking your mushrooms in just a bit of oil, then after they’ve browned a bit, add in your shallots. Allow those to cook for a bit, then add in the garlic, herbs, and tendrils, and cook until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Now begin cooking your scallops in all of that delicious, garlicky, buttery stuff that your mushrooms left behind. Cook on one side over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until golden, then flip, add some butter to the pan, and cook for another minute or so, until the scallops are an opaque color and have begun to firm up.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 pounds wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced in half (you want these to be big, thick pieces of mushrooms, so don’t even bother cutting them if they are on the smaller side)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or thyme or rosemary) leaves
- 1 large handful (about 1 cup) pea tendrils, washed and dried well
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 10-12 sea scallops, patted dry
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or thyme or rosemary) leaves
- Heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add in your mushrooms, in batches if necessary, as you want to give them ample room to cook and not just steam, which is what happens if you place anything too close together in a pan (I did my mushrooms in 2 batches). The mushrooms will begin to release their juices after a few minutes, at which point you can add in your minced shallots, followed by 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir every so often, but not too much, as you want the mushrooms to brown a bit, until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are tender. Add in the garlic, thyme, and pea tendrils, and stir for 1-2 minutes or so, until the garlic is fragrant and the tendrils have wilted slightly. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside until ready to use.
- Pat the scallops dry on both sides, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in your pan over medium-high heat, then add in the scallops – be sure that the oil is not smoking, and if it is, turn down the heat. Cook the scallops until they are browned, for about 2 minutes, then turn them over and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Cook the scallops for another minute or so, basting them with the butter as you go, until they are slightly opaque and beginning to firm up.
- When the scallops are ready, remove them from the plate and melt the remaining butter in your pan. Add in the mushroom and pea tendril mixture from earlier, the extra thyme, and stir for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are heated through. Place the scallops back in the back, toss everything together just a bit, and serve, perhaps with a final sprinkle of fleur de sel for a salty crunch.