I'm one of those people who thinks raw fennel tastes like black jelly beans. Since my main "thing" is making salads (my blog is www.TotalSalads.com), it was a bit of a challenge for me to come up with a way to use raw fennel and make it taste really good (ie. not like black jelly beans). Well, I discovered the secret - fresh lemon juice! —Erum @ www.TotalSalads.com
Prepare the Garlic Creme by mixing all the ingredients in a jar or small bowl. I use 2 garlic cloves to get a pronounced garlic flavor which can kick through the creme fraiche and mayonnaise, but you can use 1 garlic clove if you want to keep it more subtle. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day in advance.
To prepare the fennel, first cut off the fennel stalks at the top (you can save them to flavor stocks or soups). Trim the base slightly (but not so much that the fennel separates). Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then put the cut side of each half on the chopping board and cut it in half lengthwise again. Each fennel bulb should now be in quarters. Take a quarter and slice it across as thinly as you can. Do the same with all the other quarters of fennel.
Place the finely sliced fennel into a bowl and add 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 Tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves, and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day in advance.
Pan-sear the scallops just prior to serving. Put a large frying pan on high heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter. While the pan is heating, season your scallops with some sea salt. When the oil and butter is very hot, add the scallops to the frying pan (make sure not to crowd them), and allow them to cook on one side for 2-3 minutes. Do not turn them over too early otherwise they will not be nicely caramelized. When you can see that the golden caramelized color is starting to climb up the sides of the scallop, turn it over and caramelize it on the other side for a another 2-3 minutes (you may need to reduce the heat slightly). Remove the scallops from the pan when they are getting firm and almost cooked through as they will continue to cook off the heat.
In four individual plates, place some fennel salad, two scallops and a dollop of Garlic Creme. Serve immediately.