Quick and Impressive: Seared Sea Scallops with Tomato-Crab Sauce

It is incredibly rare that I am able to easily order when I eat out. How can I possibly just choose one dish when there are usually several astounding options? I always go back and forth between dishes until I eventually decide to order. Usually I go with menu items that I know I cannot easily recreate at home or a signature dish that has tremendous street credit.

But as much as some restaurants present dishes that seem complicated and special, many of them can be recreated at home without the need to sit in a stuffy dining room with a drink tab gone wild. Somehow I believe that Mas, in Greenwich Village would not be so nightmarish of an experience. Chef Galen Zamarra changes the menu daily for his French-American restaurant depending on what is fresh and seasonal. The website presents images of a tree in four different seasons gesturing to the restaurant’s commitment to local food. Offering dinner service seven days a week Mas and Zamarra have ample amounts of time to create some incredible food.

It is the menu that drew me into needing, not wanting, to recreate one of his dishes. I know I am going to have to continue to make dinners based off the stellar menu, but for now I present to you with a delicious example. The day I checked the website, Roasted Sea Scallops with a Tomato-Crab Sauce and White Polenta and Glazed Wild Ramps caught my eye. I love scallops and crab when I order at a restaurant, and together? That is such a win-win. While crab and scallops do have the ability to bust a bank account, the rest of the ingredients are pretty cheap and reasonable. Using a good jarred sauce and crabmeat it is easy to create a special sauce to go along quickly seared scallops. Instead of ramps, I decided to make balsamic and bacon roasted leeks that are earthy and have great flavor. There are so many things going on here, but everything came together quickly and tasted wonderful.

Seared Sea Scallops with a Tomato Crab Sauce (Polenta and Balsamic and Bacon Roasted Leeks)

[Inspired by Mas, Greenwich Village]

  •             3 large leeks, split in half and rinsed to remove sand
  •             3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  •             ¼ cup olive oil
  •             3 strips of bacon
  •             1 medium onion, medium dice
  •             2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  •             4 ½ tablespoons of butter
  •             16 oz. tomato sauce, about half a jar
  •             ¼ cup chicken stock
  •             8 oz. of high quality canned lump crab meat
  •             3 cups of water
  •             1 cup of dry, coarse polenta
  •             ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  •             1 ½ pounds of scallops, patted dry and salted
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the halved leeks on a baking pan. Mix together with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Put in the oven for forty minutes.
  2. Meanwhile put the bacon on a cool sauté pan. Turn the heat on and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Drain the bacon on a paper towel, reserving the bacon fat. Pour the bacon fat over the leeks in the oven, and allow them to roast for the rest of the forty minutes.
  3. In a deep pan bring three cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add one cup of polenta and keep the pan at low heat. Keep stirring occasionally for thirty minutes.
  4. Start the sauce by sautéing the onion and garlic in three tablespoons of the butter. When the onions are soft and translucent add the tomato sauce and the chicken stock. Let this simmer for twenty minutes.
  5. Ten minutes before you would like to eat, salt the scallops before searing them. Heat a nonstick pan on high heat and place the scallops in the pan being careful not to crowd them. Cook on two to three minutes on each side until both sides are golden brown and caramelized. Put on a plate to wait while finishing up the last touches on the sides.
  6. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese into the polenta until melted, smooth and creamy. Mix the crab meat into the sauce right before serving.
  7. To serve place a scoop of polenta with leeks surrounding the mound. Place some scallops on the polenta and top with the tomato and crab sauce.
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