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Author Notes: For a certain special chef's recent graduation, I created this appetizer as part of our final assignment. Everyone was extremely pleased with the results! —Mariya
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups red onion, brunoise (very small dice, about 1/8 inch)
- 1/2 cup yellow peppers, brunoise
- 1 green chili, minced, seeds and all
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 cup tomato concasse, pealed, seeded, and finely diced
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 bunch chives, sliced very thin
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 cups canola oil
- 3 lemons, zested
- 16 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps wiped with a slightly damp cloth
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 beaten eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 7 cups canola oil for frying
- 8 scallops, sliced in half, horizontally
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- FOR THE RELISH: Heat olive oil in a large saute pan and add red onions; sweat until translucent, about 15 minutes.
- Add orange peppers, chili, raisins, and currants and saute until peppers are soft, about 4-6 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and saute about 5-7 minutes, until all contents are soft through; season well with salt and pepper.
- Add white wine and reduce until it's almost gone; taste and adjust seasoning; mix in the chives and reserve.
- FOR THE LEMON BASIL OIL: In boiling water, blanch the basil and immediately submerge it in an ice bath (bowl with ice and water), to stop the cooking process; remove from water and dry well.
- Heat 2 cups canola oil and add in lemon zest; cook until the oil is infused, about 6-8 minutes (dont let the lemon zest turn brown).
- In a blender, blend the infused oil with the blanched basil; season well (you may need to add a bit of sugar, depending on your preference, as well as a few drops of lemon juice from one of the lemons).
- FOR THE MUSHROOM CAPS: Bread shiitake caps by dipping in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (shaking off any excess).
- Heat 7 cups canola oil to 380 degrees and fry shiitake caps in batches (until just golden); remove from oil onto a towel lined tray and lightly salt right away; reserve.
- FOR THE SCALLOPS: season the scallops and saute in olive oil until cooked through, about 1 minute per side.
- ASSEMBLE: place one fried mushroom cap on a plate, top with scallop, top with relish, top with a bit of lemon-basil oil.
- Optional: fry some basil leaves (in 350 degrees canola oil, for 15 seconds) and garnish on top of the dish.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Scallops
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