Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jun 12, 2012

Seared Scallops with Coconut Mussel Stew

Libations used: 1 cup white wine
Libations left over: Almost the whole bottle, so serve with dinner...
Even though it's nearly summer, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a tasty seafood stew.  I was scrolling through my files and came upon this Tasting Table recipe for Seared Scallops with Coconut Mussel Stew by Recette's Jesse Schenker.  The coconut milk and fresh herbs (thank you Maggie's Farms!) lightened it up for the season, and I couldn't resist the purple heirloom carrots at the market.  The recipe called for large sea scallops, but I ended up buying the smaller bay scallops so it would be easier to eat in a stew.  Santa Monica Seafood has this amazing Ultimate Seafood Stock that I always use when making stews, and I usually freeze whatever I have left.  Pop open a bottle of dry white wine, such as a cheap chardonnay and save for dinner.  This stew comes together pretty fast, so hop to it!

Seared Scallops with Coconut Mussel Stew - serves 6
  • 1 lb mussels, cleaned
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 large white onion, diced and divided
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 5 Tbs grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 celery root, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cups lobster or fish stock
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs chopped basil, with extra for garnish
  • Salt
  • 1 lb sea scallops, cleaned and patted dry
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

- In a large skillet, combine the mussels, white wine, 1 cup of onion and thyme.
- Cover and cook over medium heat until the mussels open (about 3 minutes) and discard any mussels that don't.
- Set aside and remove mussels from their shells when cool enough to handle, discarding shells.
- Strain the broth and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrot, celery, celery root and the remaining onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are lightly browned.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the reserved mussel broth and fish stock, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until slightly reduced (about 8-10 minutes).
- Add the saffron, coconut milk, cilantro and basil and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes more.
- Season to taste with salt and keep the stew warm over very low heat.
- Heat the remaining 4 Tbs of grapeseed oil in a large skillet until almost smoking.
- Season the scallops with salt and place in the pan in batches so they don't overcrowd.
- Cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes or until golden-brown.
- Flip the scallops over and cook for about 2 more minutes.
- Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining scallops.
- Just before serving, stir the reserved mussels into the stew until warm.
- Divide the stew among 6 bowls and top with scallops.
- Sprinkle with some basil and drizzle a little olive oil on top.