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Seared Scallops with Potato Celery Root Purée

The Challenge

This week, we once again had 2 recipes: Endive, Orange & Roquefort Salad and these Seared Scallops with Potato Celery Root Puree, which can be found here or on page 146 of Foolproof. [Lea: I'm starting to think this 2 recipe a week thing is BS. Unless one of the recipes is "order a pizza."]

Mary's Take:

Welllll, I'm just going to come out and say it. I did not like this meal. Notice I was careful not to say I didn't like the recipe (I would never want to hurt Ina's feelings). I doubt it's the recipe's fault, I mean, it's the easiest preparation of the little rubbery mollusks [Lea: Yum.]: seasoned and sautéed in grapeseed oil. I just don't like scallops. I don't like the texture. I don't know about the "buttery" adjective that people use to describe them...I've not found them to be that way at all. (Ina, if you're reading this, I'm soooo sorry. I love you.)

Once, though, I had scallops that I liked. I was in college and I went home with a friend from Cincinnati. Her mom had dinner waiting for us when we got there. She called it "Poor Man's Lobster" and it was made with scallops and bread crumbs. I'm not sure exactly what made it lobster-like, but never mind that, it was great.

But, hey, if you're a fan of scallops, read on!

This recipe has surprisingly few ingredients. The purée consists of potatoes, celery root, leeks, and heavy cream. Start by sautéing the leeks in a bit of butter.

I love the colors of leeks...from white to light green to bright green.

When the leeks have softened, add the cubed potato and celery root, cream, salt, and pepper and cook until tender.

Kind of looks like clam chowder, doesn't it? I wish it was.

Pulse it in the food processor until it's a chunky purée (sounds delish, right?) and put it back in the pot to keep warm while you cook the scallops.

Mmmm, mush. [Lea: Yeah, no.]

For the scallops, heat some grapeseed oil and add the scallops that have been patted dry and seasoned with salt & pepper.

The recipe says, "If the pan is hot enough and you let the scallops cook undisturbed, they won’t stick to the pan." My pan must not have been hot enough because they stuck. And the brown stayed on the pan and not on the scallops, which was too bad since I was hoping the browning would help my aversion to their texture. Notsomuch.

To serve, drizzle with basil oil and sprinkle on some chives.

The Verdict

Mary: I mean, it looks pretty, but I couldn't even finish one scallop. I wasn't a big fan of the chunky purée, either. But I'm not a mashed potato lover, so maybe that's why. Again, texture. So, all in all, this is not a meal I will be making again. Ever. Our dad would be horrified at the waste, but I threw it all down the disposal.

John: "Have you ever seen me order scallops? We're just not scallop people."

And there you have it.

Lea: Let the record show, I was all set to make this recipe. But then I mentioned to Mary that our vanilla grocery store didn't carry the celery root. Or the leeks for that matter. And she said (and I quote): "I hate to deter you, but don't waste your money on the scallops." and then again the next day, "I'm telling you, don't make them."

So, I didn't.

And there you have it.

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