When the weather was cooler and I had a rather large celeriac root arrive in my veg box I decided to invite a friend over to cook up something nice with the celeriac and watch Black Swan. Incidentally I recommend them both: The movie and the following dish.
Scallops with Celeriac Purée & Lardons:
1 medium sized celeriac bulb
1 cup milk
Splash of single cream
50 g butter
100 g oak smoked lardons
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of paprika
Some fresh basil to garnish
You’ll notice that I haven’t removed the orange part (or the coral) of the scallop. Puritans may suggest you do but I think they taste pretty good so at least try some before you discard it.
Peel and chop your celeriac bulb into small pieces. Get a medium saucepan on the stove at medium heat. To this add your chopped celeriac and cover with just enough milk. Bring it to a boil until it all softens up (around 10 minutes). When it’s nice and soft, season with salt and pepper and blend it all up with a hand blender. Add half the butter and the cream and simmer it down on low heat with a lid on until it reaches your desired thickness – or conversely, add more liquid until it reaches your desired thickness. Constantly taste and adjust your seasonings. Keep it warm and set it aside.
While that’s happening, cook up and render down your lardons in a small frying pan on medium high heat until nice and crispy. Add a pinch of paprika and maybe some cracked black pepper. When they are nice and crisp, keep a tablespoon or two of their fat for the scallops then set them aside in a slightly warm oven to keep warm. You’ll want to warm some serving plates too, so get those in there.
In a large non stick pan, get it up to medium to high heat. Add the reserved lardon fat and the rest of the butter. When the the fat starts to brown, add your scallops in a clockwise orderly fashion so you know which ones are taking in the most heat. Sear these for 30 seconds to 1 minute on one side and flip ’em over for 20 seconds or so. You may need to do you scallops in batches depending on how big your frying pan is.
Get your pre-warmed plates out and serve up. Purée in the centre of the plate, scallops on top. Sprinkle liberally with the lardons and their fat. Maybe a sprinkle of sea salt flakes. Basil to garnish.