Unofficial ladies month at On The Line finishes the week with a little scallop love; although we think the asparagus got camera shy for this particular shot. Chef Lindsay shared some news with us as well: Nirvana Grille celebrates their newest seasonal menu by offering it at half price during its first week. Autumn selections kick-off November 1-5 (they're closed Sundays and Mondays). We may need to go back just to lounge in the outdoor bar upstairs. For all things nirvana, find your happy place at part one or two.
Nirvana Aromatic Blackened Seared Jumbo Wild Sea Scallops, Beurre Blanc, Sautéed French Lentils & Asparagus With Lemon Oil
Serves four people.
20 U10 dry-packed wild diver sea scallops
1 cup Nirvana Blackening Spice (sold at the restaurant and online)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons grape-seed oil
Beurre blanc ingredients:
2 shallots, sliced
2 cups dry white wine
1 lemon, juiced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 black peppercorns
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1 cup French lentils
2 cups water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons leeks, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
16 spears asparagus
4 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces microgreens
Making the beurre blanc:
In a small saucepan, add shallots, white wine, lemon juice, fresh thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a quarter cup of liquid. On low heat, mix cream into the reduced liquid. Begin adding the butter, one cube at a time, giving time for each to melt before adding another, all while whisking continuously. Continue on low heat until sauce thickens. Strain the sauce in a fine-mesh strainer.
Cooking the lentils:
Sort through lentils for stones and discard. Wash with cool water and drain any excess liquid. Place the lentils in a pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape. Drain any excess water from the lentils and set them aside.
Sear the scallops:
Clean scallops and coat both sides with Nirvana Blackening Spice, other desired seasoning or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set a large sauté pan over high heat and add olive and grape-seed oils. Once heated, add scallops and cook undisturbed 2 to 3 minutes on each side until well-browned. Set in an oven safe pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. [Editor's Note: This will make sense when you are ready to serve.]
Blanch the asparagus:
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Trim asparagus by cutting or snapping at the root end. Add asparagus to the water. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Plunge asparagus in an ice bath, remove and set aside.
When ready to serve:
Place four shallow, wide bowls in the oven for no more than 1 minute.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a sauté pan and add leeks. Cook until translucent. Add lentils, chives, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper, mixing together until combined. Remove from heat.
Heat lemon oil in a large sauté pan. Cut asparagus evenly into three pieces, add them to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Remove.
Place scallops in oven for 3 to 4 minutes to finish cooking.
Place lentils in the center of each bowl. Evenly space four scallops around each bowl, then place one in the center. Stack the three pieces of each asparagus in between each scallop. Drizzle a teaspoon of beurre blanc on each scallop. Place a handful of microgreens on the center scallop. Serve and enjoy a taste of Nirvana!
Notes From the Chef:
Sear sea scallops in an extra-hot pan and finish them at the last minute in a 400-degree oven. They remain plump and tender.
Mix it up with a different starch. The lentils are a source of protein and add a great texture. They can be cooked and kept refrigerated for four days, until you are ready to use.
Keep asparagus tender by not overcooking. Blanch in boiling water, then sauté.
Nirvana Grille has locations in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach. Click here for the website.