Carrot Romesco with Seared Scallop

I love romesco, and I would eat it on a piece of cardboard. Made from red peppers, nuts, spices and oil, it’s a pesto style sauce from from Catalonia, Spain, traditionally served with charred spring onions in this kind of messy wood-fired vegetable feast, and with seafood. Of late, I’ve seen it on everything from cauliflower to pizza, no doubt making the world a better place along the way.

I’ve swapped the sweet, earthy red peppers for roasted carrots, which offer the same kind of flavors, mid-winter root vegetable style. Pimentón is a smoked paprika from Spain with a very distinctive flavor—you can find it locally at The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and online. It comes in picante (hot) and dulce (sweet) styles. I like hot here, which is in no way a blistering sort of heat, but either version works just fine.

This recipe will make more than enough romesco. Use the leftovers to dress other roasted vegetables, as a spread in a grilled cheese sandwich, or just make this same dish over again, which is what I did, with shrimp or other simple fish. The sauce keeps in the fridge for a week.

January 30, 2018

Ingredients

  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • 1-2 teaspoons pimentón, to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons sherry vinegar, to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus additional for drizzling and searing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large sea scallops
  • Flour for dusting

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Split carrots lengthwise. Cut tomatoes, onion and unpeeled head of garlic in half. Place vegetables cut side down on cookie sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast until carrots are brown and charred in spots, and tomatoes, onions and garlic are softened and collapsed, turning once, 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast hazelnuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until skins are brown and blistered. Pile into a kitchen towel, pinch closed and rub vigorously to release the skins. Add skinned nuts to the bowl of a food processor and grind as finely as possible.

Add carrots, tomato and onion to the processor. Squeeze garlic from skins and add along with pimentón and vinegar, a good pinch of salt. Pulse until smooth. With motor running, add ½ cup olive oil in a slow stream, emulsifying the sauce. Taste for spice and seasoning. You might need to add more pimentón, salt or vinegar. When you’re happy, scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Rinse scallops and pat dry, removing the hard chip of connective muscle at the side. Dust lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and season with salt and pepper. In a small skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil over high heat, just to the smoke point. Sear the scallops until deeply colored, about one minute each side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Plate small puddles of romesco and top with a seared scallop.

Ingredients

  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • 1-2 teaspoons pimentón, to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons sherry vinegar, to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus additional for drizzling and searing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large sea scallops
  • Flour for dusting
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