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Scallops with Spring Onion Puree and Black Truffles

Updated February 23, 2016

This sensual dish of warm scallops on a bed of warm pureed spring onions enhanced with black truffles is a special-occasion antipasto. It is the creation of chef Ezio Santin, who serves it at Antica Osteria del Ponte in Cassinetta di Lugagnano, not far from Milan. The harmonious blend of tender scallops with golden, crunchy tops, flavorful fleur de sel, and rich, sweet onion puree perfumed with truffle makes this an incredibly voluptuous dish. In place of fresh truffles, you may add some truffle paste to the onion puree, or a few judicious drops of truffle oil. But even without truffles, this dish is delicious. If the scallops are very large, serve only two per person, as they are quite rich.

WINE: This antipasto combines strong flavors. You need a wine that will both stand up to them and complement them. For a wine with great natural acidity and rich flavor, look no further than Verdicchio dei Castelli di jesi. In particular, try the single vineyard bottling from Sartarelli called Tralivio. The fruit is picked late in the season, so its flavors are concentrated, giving the wine richness, ripeness, and depth, while its freshness is maintained.

Truffle paste: Italian specialty stores carry different kinds of truffle paste. Some products are made from black truffles, some from white, and some mix truffles with porcini mushrooms. Some are a smooth purée and others are a bit chunky. The names vary as well: salsa al tartufo, crema di funghi as tartufo, truffle spread, and even truffle paté. All of them will work in the recipes from this book.

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostSplurge

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, appetizer

Equipmentblender

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner

Moodfestive

Taste and Texturecrunchy, rich, umami

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 spring onions, white part only, chopped
  • 1 ounce black truffle, chopped; 2 to 3 tablespoons black truffle paste (see note below); or black truffle oil to taste
  • 18 sea scallops, foot muscle removed
  • Fleur de sel
  • Minced fresh chives for garnish

Instructions

In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and sauté for 8 minutes. Add a few tablespoons water and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, transfer to a blender, and purée until smooth. You should have about 2 cups purée. Stir the truffle into the purée and keep warm.

In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Add the scallops and sauté, turning once, until golden on the outside and just opaque at the center, 4 to 6 minutes total.

Divide the onion purée evenly among warmed salad plates. Top with the scallops, again dividing evenly, and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and chives. Serve warm.

Variations:

If you cannot find spring onions (small, white bulbs on green stems), you can use 4 bunches green onions (scallions), white part only, and 1 yellow onion in their place.

In place of the truffle, trim the stem ends, wipe clean, and slice ¼ pound fresh porcini or chanterelle mushrooms, then sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Serve them with the scallops atop the onion purée.

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