Seared Scallops with Artichokes

This is a signature dish at the Pelican Club, where Chef Richard Hughes calls it by the misleading name “scallop-stuffed artichoke.” It’s sophisticated in both flavor and appearance. It’s best made with dry-pack (also known as “day-boat”) scallops, which have not been processed for long shelf life. (The ones in the supermarket probably are not this kind.) Careful: don’t overcook the scallops! Use high heat, turn the scallops only once, and get them out of the pan while they’re still bulging.

  • 4 small whole artichokes
  • 1 lb. sea scallops, medium-large
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter
  • Garlic beurre blanc:
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 head garlic, roasted until semi-soft
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fresh tarragon
  • 1 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tomato, diced

1. Wash and then steam the artichokes until tender–about 20-30 minutes. Pull off and save 32 perfect leaves. Clean and remove the artichoke bottom. Use the rest of the artichoke for other recipes.

2. For the garlic beurre blanc, bring the wine and vinegar to a boil in a skillet. Lower the heat to almost nothing and add the heavy cream. Puree the garlic (don’t use a garlic press), and add to the pan. Slowly whisk in the softened butter, then add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and reserve.

3. Heat one-third of the clarified butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the sea scallops until lightly browned, but still bulging–about a minute and a half per side. Add more butter to the pan as necessary to complete the cooking.

4. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, whisking the oil slowly into the other ingredients.

5. Place an artichoke bottom on each plate. Surround it with eight artichoke leaves. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the artichokes. Divide the scallops among the four plates, and spoon 2 Tbs. garlic beurre blanc over each. Garnish with diced tomato.

Serves four.