Scallops in the heartland are not cheap, at least not good quality ones, so I don't think of them as everyday food. This dish I consider to be a starter for an elegant dinner at home. That doesn't mean it needs to be an eight hour preperation either. Scallops go great with tangerine, orange and even Belgian endive but here I treat them with simple garlic butter or maitre d' butter because it goes so well with the inherent sweetness of the scallops. One of the tricks to scallops is to let them dry out for a while in the fridge. This will help to keep them from sticking to your saute pan. The other thing I have found is if they are stuck to you pan they will release when they are caramelized and brown, so patience is in order. Again I think scallops are at their best when they are GBD or golden, brown and delicious. —thirschfeld
For the maitre d' butter
unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons
Italian parsley, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
For the scallops and potatoes
russet potatoes, peeled and sliced, med to large sized potatoes
1/2 to 1 cups
4 to 6
, scallops, U-10 is the size you are looking for here
Go through the scallops and gently remove the little 1/2 inch strip of muscle that attaches the scallop to the shell. It will be tough as rubber bands in you mouth so you want to remove it. Not every scallop has them but most do. Put the scallops on a small cooling wrack and then on a tray to catch any juices and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Combine the butter, shallots, garlic parsley and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix until the butter is more green than yellow. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water and place over high heat. Once they begin to boil reduce the heat, so the pot doesn't boil over, but the water is still bubbling. Cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them steam dry for 2-3 minutes. Either rice them with a potato ricer, smash or put them in the bowl of a mixer and add the butter and blend.
Always add the butter first. Now add the cream in 1/4 cup increments until the potatoes are creamy, you do not want them to be stiff. Taste and then season them with salt and white pepper and stir in the chives. If you make them in advance don't add the chives until just before serving.
You can make them in advance and place the mixing bowl onto a sauce pan that is smaller than the mixing bowl but holds the bowl snug. Put about an inch of water in the sauce pan and put it over low heat. Put plastic wrap over the top of the mixing bowl. You can keep them warm for about an hour and a half this way.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Place a large saute pan over high heat, you do not want to crowd the scallops or they steam instead of saute.
Once the saute pan is hot add the oil. It should shake and shimmer but not smoke. Carefully add the scallops. They will splatter depending on the amount of moisture in them. Saute until the first side is nice and caramelized. Turn them and caramelize the other side. Remove from the heat.
Place a nice dollop of mashed potatoes into the center of a plate. Using a spoon make an indentation into the potatoes. Place a scallop into the indentation and then top with matre d' butter. You may need to warm the entire plate in the oven for a minute to melt the butter and warm the dish. The plates will be hot so use a dry towel to grab them. Serve immediately.