- Raw scallops (white part only, no roe)
- Green shiso leaves (lots of them, maybe 1 bunch for 2 people) (also known as aojiso, beefsteak leaves, perilla)
- Soy sauce
- Wasabi (fresh or prepared)
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh lemon
- Potatoes, cream, butter, white pepper (for mashed potato)
**Long Title:** Seared Scallops with Wasabi Mash and Crisp Shiso Butter Sauce
This dish came about from something I was doing last year taking the ingredients from Japanese dishes and "westernising" them. Yes, I have almost no social life to speak of.
This dish took the ingredients from very basic scallop sashimi (scallops, soy, aojiso, wasabi) to make a western style starter with asian flavours.
Because of the richness of the butter, cream and mashed potato, I would probably serve it as a starter with just two or three scallops, but I guess it would also work as a main course with more scallops and perhaps some steamed asparagus or snow peas.
1. Start by making mashed potato. This dish needs a more French-style mash (heavier, creamier, silkier) than an American-style mash (lighter, fluffier). Take some waxy potatoes; peel and boil them in salted water until tender. Water is the mortal enemy of mashed potato and will turn any mash into a stodgy gloop. If you have asbestos hands, you can boil the potatoes with the skins on to reduce the amount of water that gets in but realistically, slipping the skins off a hot potato generally means sacrificing the tips of my wee fingers. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot they were cooked in. The heat from the pot will drive off even more water and the edges of the potatoes will go a dry white colour. Pass the potatoes through a mouli or ricer or just mash them (I prefer the ricer). Then add in some cream, salt, pepper and butter and beat it all together with a wooden spoon until it is really creamy and smooth. To the cooked mash add about a quarter teaspoon of prepared wasabi per very heaped tablespoon of mash (or an equivalent portion of fresh grated wasabi). Don't add too much because you don't want it to be too pungent. Keep this warm and covered and beat in some more cream if it dries out
2. Roll up the aojiso leaves and julienne (you need lots, but leave a few for serving).
3. Dust the scallops with seasoned flour and sear in a hot pan with some butter and olive oil.
4. Set another small pan over medium-high heat and add quite a lot of butter. When foaming, add the shredded aojiso. The butter should brown ever so slightly, but you are not really trying to make a brown butter sauce. Once the shiso crisps (but before it browns) remove from the heat and separate out the shiso from the butter. To the butter, add a dash of soy and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season if necessary. Separating out the shiso before adding the soy lets the shiso retain its light green colour. Otherwise, the soy will dye it a dark green.
5. For presentation, lay a fresh shiso leaf on a plate or shallow dish and place a quenelle of wasabi mash on top of it. Add the scallops, top with the crispy shiso and spoon over the butter sauce.
There's nothing particularly novel about wasabi mash, but it works well with this. I like this dish because the crispy shiso really adds something here. It keeps its minty, peppery flavour and the crispness really contrasts against the creamy mash, tender scallops and nutty butter.