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Video: Cook up a spring feast of scallops, ramps, asparagus

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    >> this morning in "today's kitchen" seared scallops is what is for dinner. eric is executive chef of restaurant north in new york. good to see you.

    >> good to see you.

    >> seared scallops, this is my favorite time of the year because ramps are in season.

    >> six weeks of the year, six wonderful weeks.

    >> for people who don't know what they are.

    >> ramps are wild onions, cultivated on shorelines of creeks and stuff, completely wild, beautiful, they're a scallion on steroids.

    >> they're strong.

    >> beautiful perfumy aroma, amazing.

    >> we're making a vinaigrette.

    >> with the tops of it, we'll blend them with honey and sherry vinegar and drizzle in some olive oil . in the cooking process, just dripping things all over the place. so in the cooking process the heat cooks the dressing and we shock it. this is not working all this well.

    >> needs a little more liquid. there we go. all right.

    >> woohoo! so we're going to take this and shock it in an ice bath.

    >> why?

    >> we keep that green color. if you stop the cooking process of the heat it keeps it green and beautiful and wonderful and we'll mix that up. drop it over here with our scallops. quick easy pickup, asparagus in a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and crumbled blue potatoes, these are from blooming hill farm in upstate new york , we take this and it's easy and simple, a little bit of citrus, we use grapefruit juice , a little lemon juice and chives and butter, and just kind of glaze it real nice and real quick. it's probably too much butter.

    >> no such thing.

    >> i hear you. so it's just a really quick thing to have these cooked ingredients around is just what you're looking for. we'll take to you the plate, a little bit of this guy, a little bit of this dressing, which we'll get to, would you like to put that on there?

    >> sure, drizzle it.

    >> be artistic.

    >> you've already seared the scallops.

    >> cooked hem in a really hot pan in canola oil 90 seconds each side. you lift them up and down to get this beautiful golden brown the entire way around. by lifting them up and down in the oil when it's super hot you get an even gorgeous golden brown sear.

    >> when people are buying scallops what should they look for?

    >> you should look for firmness. it should be firm and dry and you should have absolutely no odor. if you get all those things together you'll have a beautiful scallop. these are u10. u10 just means in restaurant lingo there's under ten in a pound so it's a size difference.

    >> they're good size.

    >> they're beautiful.

    >> mmm. not bad at all. thank you so much, eric it's amazing.

TODAY recipes
updated 5/16/2013 4:50:27 PM ET 2013-05-16T20:50:27

Recipe: Pan-seared diver scallops with blue potatoes, asparagus and ramp vinaigrette

  • For scallops:
  • 6 U-10 scallops
  • 1 cup canola/olive oil blend
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 large blue potato
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • For ramp dressing:
  • Two bowls, one full of ice, one perched atop the ice to chill the dressing quickly
  • 1 cup ramp leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the scallops: 

In a non-crowded heavy bottom sauté pan, heat the canola/olive oil blend to almost smoking point. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Place each one in the hot oil, and continue to rotate them by lifting them up and down. This allows the oil to sear the scallops evenly (even in all their crevices). Sear on both sides until golden brown, about two minutes each side, then let rest.

For the vegetables:

You can do the majority of the vegetable prep ahead of time and just toss everything together in a pan quickly after the scallops are cooked. Well in advance, you should boil the blue potato until it is fork tender, then refrigerate. When it is completely cooled, peel and liberally crumble with your hands, leaving uneven chunks.

Wash and peel the asparagus and cut them into 1-inch pieces. In a large sauté pan, heat half of the butter and  sauté the asparagus on its own. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for approximately 45 seconds. Then add the potatoes, citrus juices, the remaining butter and the chives. Warm through until it is glazy and delicious.

For the dressing:

This can be made ahead of time. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a high speed blender. (A drink blender works fine.) Have an ice bath ready and awaiting the finished product. Start the blender slowly and puree the ingredients, while slowly raising the speed to high and incorporating the olive oil little by little. When the dressing is fully emulsified, incorporated and bright green, it is ready to be shocked in the "ice bath."  The friction of the blender actually cooks the ramp tops so you must cool it quickly to keep the bright green color, as you would when blanching a green vegetable.

Serving Size

Makes 2 to 3 servings

Recipe: Kale salad

  • For kale salad:
  • 1 bunch organic kale
  • Lemon vinaigrette
  • Quinoa-yogurt dressing
  • Preserved Meyer lemon
  • For lemon vinaigrette:
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • For yogurt-quinoa mixture:
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp verjus
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

Clean and chiffonade your favorite type of kale — curly green, red Russian and black kale all work well. Dress this lightly with lemon vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Perch atop the yogurt-quinoa mixture.

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