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Chef Bill Fuller Recipe: Seared Sea Scallops, Polenta, Fennel Salad

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(Photo Credit: CBS)

If you’re craving some seafood, Chef Bill Fuller has you covered!

Seared Sea Scallops, Creamy Polenta, Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Shaved Fennel Salad

  • 12-16 ea. Sea scallops – must be fresh and delicious
  • Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • Creamy Polenta
  • 1 ea. Head fennel
  • 1 ea. Jalapeno
  • 1-2 Ea. Small cloves garlic, peeled
  • Zest and juice of one blood orange
  • 1-2 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. Picked fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs Whole butter, softened

1) Start Oven-Dried Tomatoes well ahead of time, preferably the night before.

2) Start Creamy Polenta.

3) Using a mandolin, slice the fennel as thinly as possible. Place in a bowl.

4) Thinly slice the jalapeno until you have about a dozen slices. Shake off seeds and add to fennel.

5) Using a microplane grater, finely grate garlic into the fennel. Toss with blood orange juice and zest, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh thyme. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

6) Heat a medium sized cast iron skillet.

7) Make sure sea scallops are clean. Remove side muscle. Check faces for shell fragments and bits of grit. Dry the scallops well and season with salt and pepper.

8) Add a couple of tablespoons to the skillet. When hot, sear scallops browning well on both sides. Cook to just medium rare.

9) Smear polenta across plate. Add a few tomatoes around the plate. Place 3-4 scallops across the polenta. Sprinkle fennel salad across the scallops. Drizzle with some of the juice form the fennel salad.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

  • 2 # Roma tomatoes (or Plum tomatoes)
  • 3-4 Tbs. picked fresh thyme
  • 2-3 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

1. Place oven on low – 180º or whatever the lowest setting is.

2. Wash and dry tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise (through the tip and the stem). Toss with thyme and extra virgin olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Spread cut side up on a sheet pan. Bake in the oven until a lot of moisture has evaporated. I like to leave them overnight. You’ll want to play with the time to get them to a dryness that appeals to you.

4. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle. Peel the skins off the tomatoes.

Creamy Buttermilk Polenta

  • 6 C. Buttermilk, whole milk or water
  • 1 C. Stone-ground polenta
  • 4 Tbs. Unsalted butter
  • ½ C. Grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

1. Heat the liquid in a large pot to boiling.

2. Add the polenta in a stream, whisking constantly until all the polenta is incorporated.

3. Turn the heat to very low and cook until all of the polenta is tender — with stone-ground polenta, the size of the grain will vary, and larger pieces will take longer to cook than small ones. The cooking time should be 45-60 minutes; stir frequently endlessly with a wooden spoon.

4. While finishing polenta, bring sauce to a simmer.

5. Stir in 2 Tbs. butter and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper.

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