Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baked Scallops in Orange Cup


Scallop is perhaps my favorite food ingredient – it’s full of umami flavors, versatile – you can basically do everything with it, be it steamed, roasted, pan-seared, baked, and can go with almost everything, and so easy to cook.

Well this is a dish that I came up with using various components that I have cooked before with some success. The end-result is an interesting ensemble of distinct tastes and textures and can be nicely presented too.

Baked scallops with Saikyo Miso and Butternut Squash Foam in Orange Cup 

Recipe(for 6)

Ingredients

12 scallops – I like those sashimi-grade scallops from Hokkaido that can be found in major Japanese supermarket in town. It came with different sizes (and priced accordingly). The one I used this time is a medium-sized one (4S).

6 oranges – Ideally I would use Yuzu from Oita – the place we visited last month – but it’s almost impossible to find outside of Japan. So I used small oranges instead (mandarin oranges probably work too)

For Saikyo Miso: (I adopted the recipe from The Nobu Cookbook)
¾ Cup Mirin
2 Cups White Miso Paste
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
Sake 

For Butternut Squash Foam:
Half a butternut squash (around 1 pound) – remove the seeds
Half a stick butter
¼ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Preparation

1. First, cut off the top of the oranges and save them as “lids” for garnishing. Hollow out the oranges carefully and set aside.
2. Dice up about ½ cup of oranges and make ¼ cup of fresh orange juice from what you have hollowed out.
3. To make Saikyo Miso , bring sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, boil for an additional 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, mixing with a wooden spoon until all miso has dissolved and there’s no lumps. Turn the heat up again and add the sugar while stirring constantly with the wooden spoon. Remove the heat once the sugar’s fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature. (You will end up more miso sauce than enough - put the extra into the refrigerator and it can be used as a marinate for fish later)

4. Add the diced oranges and orange juice into the Saikyo Miso sauce. Mix them together well.

5. To make butternut squash foam. Preheat oven to 400F (190C). Coat the halved butternut squash in butter and place in a baking dish. Roast butternut squash for 1 hour until soft and caramelized. Spoon out the flesh into the blender, add chicken stock and puree. Pour puree and heavy cream into a saucepan, stir with a wooden spoon and gently reheat – don’t boil. Sieve through the creamy puree into the espuma gun (make sure there’s no lumps in the mixture) Inject one NO2 cartridge and shake.
6. Turn down the oven to 350F (175C). Cut scallops in half, season gently with salt and pepper, and portion 2 scallops in each orange cup. Pour saikyo miso sauce into orange cup to ¾ full (and make sure all scallops are covered).

7. Put orange cup into oven and bake for 15 minutes (without the lids).
I used the iSi Thermo Whip so the foam can be kept warm for a short period of time 
8. Give the espuma gun a few additional shakes and splash out the foam into a bowl. Spoon the foam onto each of the orange cup in abundance – I don’t care if it overflows.

9. Serve warm with the reserved lids by the side as garnish.


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