Fred J. Maroon
Sea Scallops & Cucumbers on the Half Shell with Cucumber Sauce
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Sea Scallops & Cucumbers on the Half Shell with Cucumber Sauce

Jean-Louis Palladin, Fred J. Maroon, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons - February 19th, 2014

The second course from Jean-Louis Palladin's Spring Menu in Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons.

Makes 4 servings

  • 3 large cucumbers, about 10 oz. each (with perfect skins and diameters about equal to those of the scallops)
  • salt water (1/4 cup coarse salt mixed with 3 qts. water) for cooking cucumbers
  • ice bath
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups lobster consommé
  • 10 oz. sea scallops, rinsed, feet removed
  • 2 cups coarse sea salt to form beds under scallop shells
  • 8 lg. scallop shells for serving
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. parsley puree
  • 1/2 tsp. lobster coral garnish

Cucumbers and sauce:

With a stripping utensil, peel off lengthwise parallel strips of cucumber skin from 1 of the cucumbers at about 1/4" intervals; you will need 7 or 8 strips of peeling for garnishing each plate. Next, cut the same cucumber crosswise into 1/8" slices; you will need 10 to 12 slices per plate. Peel off the skin from the remaining 2 cucumbers in 1/4" thick sheets, reserving peelings.

Bring the salt water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the sheets of cucumber peeling and blanch 1 minute, then add the strips of peeling and continue cooking 2 minutes more. Immediately cool sheets and strips of peeling in the ice water, keeping salt water boiling. Reserving ice water, drain sheets and strips on paper towels. Add the reserved cucumber slices to the boiling water and cook just until tender, about 1 minute; do not overcook. Immediately cool in the ice water, then drain on paper towels. Wrap strips of cucumber peeling and cucumber slices separately in plastic wrap and set aside, refrigerated.

Squeeze the sheets of peeling dry, then mince. Process in a food processor with the butter until creamy. Transfer cucumber butter to a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to let flavors develop, then cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the scallops and assemble plates:

In a large skillet, bring the consommé to a simmer. Add the scallops and simmer for 1 minute (the scallops should still be raw in the center at this point). Drain on paper towels. Set aside 1 Tbsp. of the cooking liquid, refrigerated, for the sauce.

With a sharp thin-bladed knife, cut the scallops into attractive 1/8" slices; you will need 10 to 12 slices of scallops for each plate.

Mound 1/2 cup coarse salt in the center of each of 4 ovenproof serving plates and position the 4 deepest shells on top. In each shell or directly on each ovenproof plate if not using shells, arrange about 10 of the scallop slices and about 10 of the reserved cucumber slices alternately in a large circle; place 1 or 2 scallop and cucumber slices in the center of the arrangement. Next, arrange the reserved strips of cucumber peeling in a crisscross pattern on top and season with salt and pepper. Cover plates with aluminum foil. (The plates may be assembled at this point up to 2 hours ahead and kept refrigerated; return plates to room temperature before heating in the oven.)

To serve:

Heat the covered serving plates in a preheated 350˚F oven just until food is hot, about 10 minutes; check often toward the end of the cooking time so the scallops don’t overcook and become rubbery.

Meanwhile, finish the sauce by combining the reserved chilled cucumber butter with the reserved 1 Tbsp. scallop cooking liquid in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat just until butter melts, whisking constantly. Strain through a chinois, using the bottom of a sturdy ladle to force as much through as possible; the strained sauce should yield about 1/2 cup. Return sauce to saucepan, whisk in the parsley puree, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat over high heat, whisking constantly.

Remove plates from the oven, unwrap, and blot edges of cucumbers well with paper towels. Spoon about 2 Tbsps. sauce over each serving and sprinkle lobster coral garnish. Position 1 of the remaining shells to the side of each serving. Serve immediately.

Find more recipes from Palladin's Spring: Menu Two: