Seared Diver Scallops, Orecchiette Pasta

As seen in the September 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound Restaurant

Seared Diver Scallops, Orecchiette Pasta tossed with Fava Bens, Peas, Green onions and Fresh Ricotta, served with Caramelized Limes and Vermouth Butter

Yield 4 appetizer servings

8-10 diver or dry pack sea scallops, weighing approximately 1 pound

1/4 pound orecchiette pasta, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente and drained

1/2 pound fresh fava beans, blanched and skins removed

1/2 pound fresh English peas, peas removed from pod and blanched

1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin

1/4 pound fresh whole milk ricotta cheese (the New York creamy style is best)

4 small Key or Mexican limes

Pinch white sugar

Olive oil for cooking

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe vermouth butter sauce


Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the limes in half, season with a pinch of sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss with a very small amount of oil to coat.  Roast cut side up in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the limes brown.

Heat a black steel, cast iron or non-stick pan to very hot.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper and toss in a small amount of oil to coat.

At the same time, bring a small pot of water to a boil, large enough to place a basket or china cap to reheat your pasta in. Heat the pasta for 1 minute, add the fava beans and peas into the same water to heat, drain and remove to a glass or stainless bowl. Fold in the scallions and lightly toss with “pieces” of the cheese—do not over mix to make creamy—season with salt and pepper.

While the pasta is heating, sear the scallops at high heat turning only once, approximately 30-45 seconds on each side.  Place the pasta mixture down on plates, top with two scallops per plate, spoon the sauce around and garnish with the limes.

Chef Mark Kiffin recommends pairing this appetizer with the Jordan Chardonnay from the Jordan Vineyard & Winery, which The Compound Restaurant is featuring this year for the Wine & Chile Fiesta. “It’s not too oaky,” he says, “so the acid works with the richness of the pasta and the pea.”


Vermouth Butter Sauce

Yield 1 cup

1/2 cup Noilly Prat or another dry white vermouth

1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar

4 whole black peppercorns

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and kept cold

In a heavy-bottom small saucepan, place the vermouth, vinegar, peppercorns and thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and reduce to approximately 2 tablespoons.  Stir in the butter a few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Strain and keep warm but not hot. To further compliment the flavor of the wine, Chef Mark Kiffin recommends substituting the Jordan Chardonnay for the Vermouth.

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