I was excited for this recipe before I even made it. Even on paper, the ingredients came across as a perfect medley of spring flavors and colors. As I shopped for this dish, my excitement grew; everything was just so fresh that I almost just wanted to forget the recipe and eat everything on its own.
Once we set up our ingredients shot, I was awed once again by how stunningly beautiful all of the food was when place together. The photo reminds me of a still-life painting with so many vibrant colors and textures.
While the scallops are simply pan-seared, the rest of this dish is a little more involved.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but each one is simple enough and many of them can be done in advance in case you’re having company (as we are on Sunday!).
The radishes we used—tender, baby specimens from the greenmarket—braise slowly in a mixture of butter and white wine (is there a better combo?!) until they are meltingly soft. While the radishes braised, we boiled a pungent combination of fresh herbs and vermouth. The kitchen smelled lovely at this point, as you can imagine.
Those two components are the only complicated part of this recipe. Otherwise, if you can fry a slice of bacon, you should try this dish. The numerous dishes you’ll dirty will be worth it.
Scallops in Herb Broth With Braised Radishes and Bacon
Adapted from the Wall Street Journal
2 1/2 c. basil leaves
1/2 c. garlic chives
1/4 c. dry vermouth
1 (2-in.) piece lemongrass, halved
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 c. dry white wine
10 red radishes, quartered (or left whole, if small)
3 strips bacon
1/2 c. cream
Juice of 3/4 lemon
1 lb. scallops
1. Combine 1/2 cup basil leaves, 1/4 c. garlic chives, vermouth and lemongrass in a small saucepan with 1 1/4 c. water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Uncover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add wine, radishes and a big pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until radishes are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove radishes from braising liquid with a slotted spoon and discard liquid.
3. Strain herb broth through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids. You should have about 3/4 c. broth. Pour back into small saucepan and set aside.
4. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. When very crisp, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve bacon fat in pan.
5. Combine remaining basil leaves, remaining garlic chives, cream, lemon juice and a big pinch of salt in a blender and purée well. Scrape herb purée out of blender into saucepan with the herb broth. Swirl a little broth in blender if necessary to get herb purée out of blender. Whisk together over medium-low heat until just warmed through.
6. Pat scallops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Rewarm bacon fat in skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops in bacon fat, about 3 minutes per side.
7. Finely crumble bacon. Divide scallops evenly among two shallow bowls (or four, if serving as an appetizer). Divide herb broth among bowls then divide radishes among bowls. Top each with bacon and serve immediately.
Still not convinced? You should trust us, as this dish was one of our favorites ever. So much so that we’re serving it as the second course at our spring dinner on Sunday.