Peconic Bay scallops have arrived and chefs like Meredith Machemer, of Grey Horse Tavern, are elated. One of the prized catches of our local waters, scallops from Peconic Bay have fallen on some pretty hard times since 1985. This year’s harvest is looking promising, which has both home cooks and chefs are licking their chops.
Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport prides itself on serving “seasonally driven menus highlighting locally sourced, fresh and clean ingredients.” Freshly harvested Peconic Bay scallops have met their muse in Meredith Machemer’s capable hands. When preparing bay scallops, Machemer embraces a less-is-more concept; simply searing the scallops to a golden brown. The icing on the proverbial cake is the potato scallion latkes, roasted wild mushrooms and lemon beurre blanc. Machemer’s dish is a celebration of the jewels of Peconic Bay. Welcome back Peconic Bay scallops, we have truly missed you.
Pan Seared Peconic Bay Scallops with Potato Scallion Laktes, Roasted Wild Mushrooms and Lemon Beurre Blanc
1 pound of cleaned Peconic Bay scallops
Potato Scallion Latkes
4 Idaho potatoes, grated and triple rinsed
1/4 – 1/2 cup all purpose flour (apply flour as needed)
1 bunch scallions, green parts julienned
1/2 Spanish onion, thinly sliced into half moons
2 tbsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
oil for pan frying
2 lb wild mushrooms
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper to season
Lemon Beurre Blanc
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to tasteHeat the oven to 450 degrees.
For the mushrooms — Clean and slice assorted mushrooms. Slice shallot. Place mushrooms and shallots on a sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place the thyme sprigs on top. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
For the latkes — Grate the potatoes into a container with fresh water. Rinse potatoes with 3 changes of water. Once the potatoes are rinsed, pat down with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add scallions and Spanish onion. Whisk the eggs in a separate smaller bowl and then add to the potato, scallion, onion mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the flour in increments. When the potato mixture begins to bind and you can make a patty, it is ready. On a medium flame, heat a saute pan with oil. Separate the potato mix into 4 portions. Take the first portion and press it into the pan so it is flat. Pan fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. When finished, place on a paper towel to drain.
For the beurre blanc — Put shallots, white wine and lemon juice in a medium pot, cook on a medium-high flame until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and bring to a light boil. Once the cream has come to a bowl, reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in butter, one cube at a time. Once the mixture is smooth, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the bay scallops – Season bay scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute or cast-iron pan on high. Add oil. Once oil is slightly smoking, add the bay scallops. (this may have to be done in two additions so the heat of the pan isn’t lost). With a spoon or spatula, move the scallops around, so that they are able to be seared on all sides(nice golden brown).
Assembly — Place a latke on each plate. Top with the bay scallops and then the mushrooms. Drizzle with the lemon beurre blanc.