We recently invested in a French style mandoline and I can’t even begin to tell you how much we’ve used it already. My favorite thing about it is that we can take vegetables that we’d normally have to blanch or steam and we can shave them so thin that we eat them raw. This dish combines one of my new favorite things (seared sea scallops) with a delicious shaved salad of english cucumbers and fennel mixed with fresh herbs and grapefruit. By using fresh grapefruit juice at the end to deglaze the pan and make a reduction, everything comes together in the most amazing way. The crispness of the shaved salad pairs perfectly with the tender scallops and the tart grapefruit. If you follow me on twitter then you saw the remains of this dinner the other night, let’s just say we ate every thing short of licking the plate! The shaved salad would be amazing by itself or over another protein if you don’t like seafood (I think it would be perfect over some poached chicken breast). This recipe makes enough for 2 people as a main dish or 4 for a first course.
Start off with one large ruby red grapefruit. Zest about one tbsp worth of the rind. Next, segment about 3/4 of the grapefruit. To do this, cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit with a paring knife so that it can stand up on its own. Being careful to only take off the rind and pith (you want to remove as little flesh as possible), peel the grapefruit. Now, to get the segments out, use your paring knife and make a slice on either side of the membranes. The segments will pop right out, this is the part you want to keep. Continue until about 3/4 of the grapefruit has been segmented. Squeeze the rest of the grapefruit into a bowl, you’ll need 1/3 cup of the juice. Cut the grapefruit segments into bite sized pieces.
Shave 1 bulb of fennel on the thinnest setting on your mandoline (or cut into thin strips with your knife if you don’t have a mandoline). Place the shavings in a strainer and set the strainer inside a bowl of ice water. This will do two things, stop the fennel from browning while you finish the dish and crisp it up. Shave 1/4 of an english cucumber on the thinnest setting of your mandoline and set aside. Take 3/4 lb sea scallops out of the refrigerator, pat them dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Place scallops in the skillet and sear until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn them over and repeat on the other side until they’re just opaque all the way through, about 2 minutes. Divide the scallops between two plates and loosely tent with foil. Add the grapefruit juice to the pan to deglaze it and cook down until just about 1 tbsp is left, remove from the heat. In a mixing bowl combine the shaved cucumber, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, the grapefruit zest and pieces, 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives. 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves and a pinch of salt.
Remove the fennel from the ice bath and shake out all excess water. Add it to the salad and mix to combine. Un- tent the scallops and place half the shaved salad on top of them. Repeat with the other plate of scallops and drizzle each plate with the grapefruit juice reduction.
I garnished the dish with a couple of chives and served it with a 2011 La Forêt des Dames Sancerre.
You can also check out this post for another one of my scallop recipes, pan seared scallops and chorizo!