Friday, February 11, 2011

Succulent Scallops in a Carrot, Orange and Cardamom Sauce-- with a Shaved Asaragus Salad

Before I share with you how to make this colorful and delectable scallop dish, I'd like to introduce you to Chef Todd Fisher-- who is the creator of this recipe.

Just look at that smile!  Chef Todd and I share the same home turf-- the beautiful Monterey Peninsula (California). Todd and I have crossed paths over the last decade via our church, friends, local food events and I've been a frequent customer at his restaurants over the years.  He's a genuinely friendly kind of family man, with a fun and outgoing personality...

...and, he loves to be photographed!  Chef Todd was one of the presenters for "Fresh Express" at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco.  He uses local and fresh ingredients from our Salinas Valley and the Monterey area. Here, he is giving a generous serving of an Herb Salad with Toasted Quinoa and Smoked Pecans in a Cranberry Vinaigrette.   I'm a fan of  Todd's culinary creations, because he really thinks outside the box.   What really stands out about Todd is that he has both passion and a talent for cooking--which is why he is quickly gaining celebrity status in the culinary world.   After a long and successful run as a partner in a local restaurant, Chef Todd has moved into a new direction-- while keeping busy with food events all over the country, and balancing time with his wife and children.  In a quiet little Monterey Peninsula seaside community called 'Sand City', Todd has opened his newest venture called "The Kitchen".

Upstairs, there's a loft with a dining area where customers hire Chef Todd to cater their dinner parties.  He also hosts dinner parties with a prix fixe menu, that anyone can attend.  He's a very busy man, but he also sets time aside to offer cooking classes to aspiring home chefs (like me).   When Todd announced that he would be teaching a 'Valentine's Tribute, Sensual Dinner Three-Hour Cooking Class'-- and I saw Lobster Bisque and Succulent Scallops on the menu-- I quickly paid my $75.00 and I charged my camera battery.


There were twelve students, and I came with my own knife and a very hungry appetite.  Today, I'm going to share with you Todd's recipe for Succulent Scallops and a shaved asparagus salad.  Todd printed this recipe in our local newspaper, so I figured he wouldn't mind if I share this with my blog readers. 

As we arrived for the class, we were warmly greeted and presented with mimosas.  We began by making the seafood bisque (that I will present on a later post)-- the class was very much a "hands on" experience.  

We had three hours to learn how to prepare six dishes, so Todd jumped in and prepared the shaved asparagus salad.  I'm a big fan of roasted asparagus, but I never thought to shave uncooked asparagus, with a vegetable peeler, and to serve it with a vinaigrette! 

The vinaigrette was made with champagne vinegar, a shallot, orange zest, Dijon mustard, sea salt, black pepper, Italian parsley and olive oil-- very simple, very delicious.  He set that aside...

Next, Todd made the Carrot, Orange & Cardamon Sauce.

(A printable recipe card is at the very bottom of this post.)  In a medium saucepan, he combined carrot juice, ¼ cup vermouth, orange juice, lemon juice, shallot and salt, bringing it to a boil over high heat-- then reducing  the heat just enough to maintain a steady boil. The sauce was then cooked until slightly thickened  and reduced to about ½ cup. Last, we whisked in butter one piece at a time, waiting until each piece was melted and incorporated before adding another. (The sauce should be thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.) Last,  the sauce was reduced to a simmer, whisking constantly, and the ground cardamom was added and removed from heat.  Todd admitted that he recently developed an allergy to shellfish, but that didn't stop him from sharing the secret to perfectly prepared scallops. For some of the students, they were delighted to learn why their past attempts yielded tough and rubbery scallops-- which is, that they were overcooking them. I was once guilty of that until I made this recipe.

Todd showed how important it is to dry the scallops really well, (he seasoned them with just salt and pepper)-- and to get the pan really hot; next he adds olive oil and a pat of butter.  In a matter of about 3 minutes, he had a platter of these gorgeous scallops:

I greedily selfishly wished that everyone had an allergy to these, so I could more. I adore scallops. I truly do. So, now it's time to taste. Chef Todd shows us how the pro's do it-- Begin with two scallops...

...spoon some of that beautiful carrot, orange, cardamon sauce. Do I hear an "ooooh"?  Now top it with some of the shaved asparagus salad.  Do I hear an "ahhhhhhhhhh"?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you perfectly succulent scallops, ala Chef Todd Fisher.  They are tender.  They are so good! Besides the sauce being such a beautiful color, it's light-- the balance of orange and cardamon is perfect with the carrot juice.  This gets about 10 O-M-G's.  I would have never thought of piling the asparagus salad on top, but it works.  There's a gentle bite from the vinaigrette, that balances out the sweetness of the scallops and the carrot-orange-cardamon sauce.  This is so simple to make and  I plan to replicate this for a romantic dinner with my husband, this weekend.  I definitely got my money's worth from this class-- and I even got to go home with extra portions to take home! What a deal!

Other recipes we learned:  Lobster (in this case, shrimp) bisque, sweet potato gnocchi with a divine sauce and perfectly seared and roasted pork tenderloin.  I'll be sharing these very soon....

If you live within a couple hours of the Monterey Peninsula-- or you plan to visit my piece of paradise that I call "home", you might want to check out Chef Todd Fisher's class schedule.   He makes cooking fun!  Believe me, I came home with a very happy and very fully belly of delicious recipes that he served us very generously.  (Psssssssssssst... and he keeps a bottomless glass of wine going for his students, so bring a designated driver.)

Here's the recipe:

Happy Valentine's Day!



                               

Succulent Scallops in a Carrot, Orange and Cardamom Sauce

        <p>Located in Sand City, California, I took a cooking class at &#8220;The Kitchen&#8221; with Chef Todd Fisher.  This colorful and flavorful dish was very easy to prepare, and makes a beautiful &#8220;ta-da&#8221; presentation at the dinner table. The ...    

        See Succulent Scallops in a Carrot, Orange and Cardamom Sauce on Key Ingredient.    

   








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12 comments:

Noelle Ritter said...

this looks fantastic! the asparagus is beautiful like that!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

How I wish I lived near you. That would be such fun. That sauce is gorgeous. Thanks for all of the great pictures. I learned a lot. And the scallops were perfectly cooked too.

I smiled when you said you brought your knife. When we went to France for two months, we rented a house and planned to cook a lot, so I took two of our own knives with us. I wrapped the knives carefully and of course our bags were opened, but the knives arrived safely and we used them everyday. There's nothing like your own knife.

Have a wonderful Valentine's day.
Sam

bellini valli said...

I remember Todd well from Foodbuzz and his love for porchetta. Of course I wish I lived closer so that I could enter one of his classes but I will live vicariously through you Debby.

Joanne said...

What an awesome experience! This is such a gourmet meal...the kind of thing I would expect to eat at a high end restaurant. Love that you can make it at home!

Kay Heritage said...

Whoa! What a feast for my eyes indeed, Debby! Great to "meet" Chef Todd. Great post, thank you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

When I first saw the photo, I thought this is a meal from a fancy restaurant - and it was practically, except you cooked it. What fun to take that class.

Cathy said...

I would love to take a hands-on class like this, Debby. The scallops look delicious and I'm looking forward to your pork recipe.

I hope you enjoy a very Happy Valentine's Day.

Monica H said...

So not fair! I just got a list of prohibited foods, which included scallops, shrimp, lobster, and crab. BUMMER,because this looks fantastic.

Chris and Amy said...

Wow! Love the addition of cardamom! Looks and sounds fabulous!

catering ny said...

Congratulation Chef Todd for preparing a delicious and mouth watery food. I love the design of your preparations.

Allie said...

Yumm! I have always liked scallops but I really fell in love with them at the Foodbuzz dinner, they were amazing. And I love Chef Todd, what a nice guy! So lucky that you had a chance to learn from him! Such a good experience and the menu sounds delish. I wish I was there.

Stacey Snacks said...

What a wonderful friend/chef you found in California! Lucky girl.
The almondine looks beautiful too!