Seared Scallops with Citrus Confit and Fried Basil
Ingredients/Citrus Confit 5 lemons 5 oranges 2 cloves garlic 2 tsp black peppercorns 6 sprigs fresh thyme 1 dried chili 1 bay leaf 1 cup salt 3 cups sugar 3 cups olive oil Method/Citrus Confit Cut the lemons and oranges in half and place in a stainless steel pan. Add all remaining ingredients except olive oil, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer; too much heat will cause the lemons and oranges to fall apart. Simmer for 15 minutes, then pour the contents of the pan, including liquid, into sanitized Mason jars. Seal and let cool in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. When ready to use, scrape out the pith (the white layer between the peel and the flesh) of the lemons and oranges with a knife and cut pith into 1⁄2-inch strips. Ingredients/Seared Scallops 20 10/20 dry (not frozen) scallops 1 tsp finely chopped garlic 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil 1 tsp finely chopped cilantro 1 oz lemon juice 1 oz orange juice 1 oz lime juice 1 tsp chili powder Method/Seared Scallops Remove any connecting muscles from the side of each scallop. Mix all other ingredients to create a marinade. Alternate two strips of citrus confit and two scallops on each skewer, starting with a cube of confit and ending with a scallop. Dredge each skewer in marinade and let rest 1 hour in the refrigerator before service. Ingredients/Fried Basil 4 basil leaves 1 cup olive oil kosher salt to taste Method/Fried Basil Heat oil to 350o. Drop basil leaves into oil and fry until crisp, then remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Before service, lightly crumble the basil leaves into crispy flakes. Assembly Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sear one side of each skewer for 3 minutes, then flip and sear the opposite side for 2 minutes, or until scallops are cooked through. Remove scallops from the pan and sprinkle basil crisps on both sides. Chef Notes The citrus confit can be made up to 5 days ahead and held in the refrigerator for later use. Use dry, or fresh, scallops for the best results. IQF scallops have a higher water content and may become soft and break apart during preparation. For best quality, fry the basil leaves just before service. Variations Sea bass can be substituted for the scallops; its texture works well with the crust.