The addition of celery root gives mashed potatoes an extra, surprisingly herbal dimension. The puree provides a perfect nest for seared scallops, and a drizzle of simple but intensely flavored sauce completes this delectable dish. It will make you feel you're dining in a multi-starred restaurant.
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Fresh-ground black pepper
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 pounds sea scallops
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
How to Make It
Put the potatoes and celery root in a medium saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook at a low boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and then drain the potatoes and celery root. Put them back into the saucepan along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Mash over very low heat, incorporating the reserved cooking water and 5 tablespoons of the butter.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Season the scallops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add half the scallops to the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side and just done, about 1 minute. Remove. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the pan and cook the remaining scallops. Remove.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the scallops and any accumulated juices, the parsley, capers, lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mound the puree on plates and top with the scallops and sauce.
Wine Recommendation: A white wine with full flavor makes a fine partner for scallops; on the other hand, a wine with some acidity is good, too. Try a crisp and minerally Chablis, made entirely from chardonnay, for the best of both.
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I had some celeriac from my CSA to use up and I had scallops, so I thought I'd try this. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. The puree of potatoes and celery root was light and flavorful. I liked the simpleness of the ingredients in this. All the flavors really shined. I used margarine, which didn't brown nicely, but was healthier and tasted great.
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