Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seared Scallops with Sweet Potato Gnocchi

A few weeks ago I made a sweet potato pie and I had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes. So, instead of throwing the leftover potatoes away, I made these lovely sweet potato gnocchi. They are so delish, and billowy and sweet, but not too sweet, and I thought "what can I pair them with?" And the first thing that came to mind were sweet, fresh scallops. Try to get the larger scallops, if possible, and try to get each about the same size. I added dried cranberries at the last minute to the brown butter-sage sauce (recipe follows), but this is entirely optional. I just wanted to give it some nice color and contrast of flavor...and it was SO GOOD!

INGREDIENTS (makes about 24 gnocchi)

  • 1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 cups flour

Place the mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl and blend in the salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water, make the gnocchi. On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections. Pass through a gnocchi press or roll over a fork.

Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon, and keep warm in a serving dish. Serve with seared scallops and sage butter sauce.

Note: you can freeze the uncooked gnocchi, if you have any left. Cook them for 5 to 6 minutes in boiling water.

Seared Scallops

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 8 large sea scallops
  • Clarified butter or ghee
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Most scallops you buy at the store have been soaked in a liquid solution that keeps them looking white. So you'll need to drain and rinse them thoroughly, then pat them dry with paper towels before seasoning them. Make sure they are as dry as you can get them. Season scallops with salt and pepper.

Heat a nonstick sauté pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of clarified butter or ghee and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. The butter/oil needs to be very hot before you add the scallops. You want to see just a little bit of smoke.

Place 4 scallops in the pan (you need to cook in batches so pan does not get overcrowded) and don't touch them! I know you'll be tempted to move them, but believe me it'll be worth it if you don’t. Be strong!

Wait two minutes, and then check the bottom of scallop to see that they have a nice caramel-colored crust, and then flip them over. Depending on how thick your scallops are, you want to cook for another minute to two minutes, but no more than 3. Remove scallops and tent with foil and finish cooking the rest. Serve immediately with the gnocchi and brown butter-sage sauce.

Brown Butter-Sage Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of pine nuts
  • Pinch of brown sugar

With a paper towel, wipe the same pan you cooked your scallops in add the butter and melt on medium heat, bordering on medium-high. Add the sage leaves and pine nuts. Keep turning the pan so that everything gets coated. Keep cooking until butter begins to foam a little and it starts to turn slightly brown. At this point, add the brown sugar and keep cooking and stirring until sugar melts. Remove from heat immediately and drizzle some of this sauce over gnocchi and scallops.

You can also serve the gnocchi with the brown butter sauce sans the scallops and it makes a great lunch!


aandara said...

Armida esto se ve delicioso
tengo que probarlo

Inamorata said...

An EXQUISITE marriage of flavors! Kudos, Armida!