Seared Scallops w/ Sunchoke Purée & Herb Salad

Makes 6 appetizers


For Sunchoke Purée

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leeks, whites only (rinsed in tepid water)
  • kosher salt for seasoning
  • pepper for seasoning
  • 1½ cups peeled & thinly-sliced sunchokes
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For Seared Scallops

  • 6 sea scallops (1 - 1½" across), tough muscles removed, dried w/ a paper towel & halved horizontally
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For Herb Salad

  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped arugula
  • 2 tbsp chervil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp celery leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon leaves
  • supreme (segments) of ½ Meyer lemon, peel & membrane removed
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Serving Suggestions

  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke) chips*
  • pomegranate seeds


Make Sunchoke Purée

  1. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, cover with parchment or lid, and cook 5 minutes, or until tender
  2. Add the sunchokes and cook uncovered for 5 minutes
  3. Add the cream, cover again with parchment or  lid and cook on low for 10 minutes, or until the sunchokes are tender
  4. Purée in a blender with the lemon juice until very smooth.  Adjust seasonings as needed

Sear Scallops

  1. Season the scallops with salt and white pepper
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high
  3. When the oil is very hot (almost at the smoking point), add the scallops in a single layer, with at least ½" of space between them, and allow them to cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on one side (cooking on both sides will overcook the scallops).  They should still be slightly translucent in the center

Make Herb Salad

  1. Mix herbs together and dress with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  2. Toss in Meyer lemon segments


  1. Put a spoonful of sunchoke purée on each of 6 spoons
  2. Set 1 scallop on each spoon and top with a pinch of herb salad
  3. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and sunchoke chips

*For Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) Chips: thinly slice ¼ lb of Jerusalem artichokes (peeled or unpeeled). Fry in vegetable oil heated to 300º until golden and crispy. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate, and sprinkle with kosher salt while warm