This recipe is inspired by an experience in Barcelona, where we ate calcots (spring leeks) cooked on a wood grill and dipped in romesco sauce. Romesco is one of our go-to sauces due to its versatility, unique flavor and ability to compliment almost anything it is served with.
We had some fun with this dish by cutting the stems of king trumpet mushrooms into a circular shape to appear like a “faux” scallop. Trumpet mushrooms can be found at grocery stores like Whole Foods or at specialty Asian markets. While this dish can easily be made vegetarian by using only mushrooms, we enjoy mixing the scallops and mushrooms to create a whimsical, creative and colorful dish full of texture and flavor.
Sea scallops are wonderful when freshly harvested off the coast of New England. Make sure you ask your fishmonger for dry-packed scallops. It is quite common for fish purveyors to add preservatives like sodium tripolyphosphate. While dry packed may be more expensive, it’s certainly worth it.
Sea scallops and king trumpet mushroom “scallops” with leeks, corn and romesco sauce
- 1½ lbs. sea scallops (ask your fishmonger for dry-packed scallops without preservatives)
- 4 medium to large-sized king trumpet mushrooms
- 2 whole leeks
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil (substitute with other neutral oil like vegetable, sunflower or canola oil)
- ½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup dry vermouth
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black peppercorn
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
- ¼ cup romesco sauce – see recipe
- ½ cup organic micro and baby greens (optional; we use Super Babies found at Whole Foods)
- Clean any debris from the king trumpet mushrooms. Trim and dispose of the bottom of stem, and then cut stem into 1” segments, working your way up to the cap. Depending on the stem size you should have 3-5 round, scallop-like sections. Reserve in fridge for later use.
- Chop the king trumpet caps into small pieces and reserve for the leek sauce.
- For the leek sauce: cut leeks at a 45° angle, where the lighter green part meets the darker green. Discard dark green leaves. Cut the leeks in half horizontally, so you have four long pieces. Gently wash any dirt away from the ends under running water, keeping the leeks in tact. Lay leeks flat and cut into 1" pieces.
- For the romesco sauce: follow our recipe here.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil in a 12” sauté pan to medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for one minute. Add the chopped trumpet mushroom caps to the leeks and continue to sauté for 4- 5 minutes, lightly browning the leeks.
- Season leeks with ½-¼ tsp. of kosher salt. Add the dry vermouth and reduce by half (or cook down until you only have half vermouth remaining).
- Add fresh thyme, corn and vegetable stock to leeks and turn heat to simmer. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Remove scallops and scallop-like trumpet mushrooms from the fridge. Lay them flat, and top both sides of scallops and mushrooms with salt and pepper.
- In a 12” sauté pan, heat 3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil to medium high. Once oil is hot, add the seasoned scallops. As the scallops begin to sear, add the seasoned scallop-like mushrooms to pan. Sear both scallops and mushrooms until golden brown, or about 4-5 minutes. You may have to add a bit more oil to the pan if it becomes too dry, and adjust the cooking heat as needed.
- Flip scallops and trumpet mushrooms over, searing the other sides for 3 minutes. Turn burner off, and let ingredients finish cooking in hot pan for 3-5 more minutes.
- Place the hot leek sauce on a platter. Arrange the scallops and mushrooms on top of the leek sauce, alternating between the real and “faux” scallops.
- Finish dish with 7 individual dollops (about 1 tsp. each) of romesco sauce placed in between the scallops.
- Garnish with micro and baby greens (optional).