I enjoy the variety of flavors, textures, and colors of the summer garden. The vegetables are tender and have a “green” taste to them because from sprouts they have known the summer sun.
The sun flavors the vegetables. It sounds weird, but I talked with a farmer about it last year. I told him that his tomatoes tasted like the sun. His vegetables, harvested that morning, were unique in their lightness and acidity. Contrast those flavors of spring with the flavors of winter—the earthiness of the root vegetables and greens that almost never see the sun.
This dish is kept very simple and fresh. We don’t try and manipulate or mask the bright, simple flavors of the peas. The puree is straightforward, blanched fresh peas, a touch of the blanching water and some salt. The technique allows the fresh flavors to come through. The raw shaved cucumber has that same bright “green” taste—like spring on a plate.
- 2 cups fresh green peas, divided
- 8 stalks white asparagus
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- Ground white pepper
- 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
- Blended oil
- 12 large (U-10) scallops
- ½ teaspoon Matcha tea powder
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled into ribbons
- 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios, toasted
- Garnish: fresh pea shoots, Meyer lemon oil
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Prepare an ice bath that is also generously salted. Add peas and asparagus to boiling water, and blanch for 30 seconds. Immediately remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, and transfer to ice bath to stop the cooking process. Reserve blanching water.
- In a small bowl, set aside 2 tablespoons peas for garnish. In the container of a blender, place remaining peas and cream. Cover and slowly purée mixture, adding just enough blanching liquid from vegetables to combine into a smooth mixture. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Reserve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate if making ahead.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack over foil. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on rack. Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.
- In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, pour just enough oil to coat bottom of pan. Heat over high heat. (Oil will smoke slightly if pan is at correct temperature, but shouldn’t discolor or blacken. This will result in an unwanted bitter taste.) Season scallops with salt on both sides and Matcha tea powder on one side. Place scallops in hot pan, Matcha side down. Cook until scallops begin to caramelize, about 1 minute. Turn, and cook until done, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- To plate, spread a thin layer of pea purée onto 4 serving plates. (Reserve remaining pea purée for another use like pasta or bruschetta.) Add 3 scallops to each plate. Divide reserved 2 tablespoons peas, asparagus, pancetta, cucumber, and pistachios among each plate. Garnish with pea shoots and a drizzle of Meyer lemon oil, if desired. Serve immediately.