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Seared Scallops Gratin and Criss-Cross Potatoes


seared scallops on criss-cross potatoes with herbed cheese sauce garnished with grated parmesan cheese and fresh tarragon

Scallops, at least for me, aren’t something I eat every day, but seared scallops are so easy to make and in my opinion, elevate a menu from any old dinner party to something a little nicer. I decided to make seared scallop gratin, because... cheese... and served them with smoky, buttery, criss-cross potatoes. The secret to a great seared scallop is of course butter and proper seasoning. You don’t need anything else aside from salt and pepper, but you definitely don’t want to skip that step. I made a creamy cheese sauce for the scallops and a key component is the herbed cheese, I used Boursin cheese, but you can use an herbed cream cheese instead if you want. I combined the herbed cheese with cream, white wine, parmesan cheese, garlic and both lemon zest and lemon juice. I also added fresh tarragon and melted and cooked it all together until bubbly and delicious - this cheese sauce was so velvety and full of flavour.


There is a trend now of making ‘criss-cross’ potatoes, where you use chopsticks to keep from cutting through the potato and it creates a kind of checkered pattern on top. I decided to try my hand at this method, since you’re supposed to get a crispy outside and a pillowy and soft inside, which sounds great to me. To step it up a bit, I cooked my potatoes in butter in the smoker and then finished them off on the plancha to get that great crispy exterior. The buttery potatoes paired with the perfectly seared scallops and herby cheese sauce was the best bite. Keep reading if you want to find out how to make my Seared Scallops Gratin and Criss Cross Potatoes, or jump to the full recipe.


a slice of potato positioned between two chop sticks and being cut partway through

Set Smoker to 350F. Slice your potatoes length-wise into half inch pieces. Centring each potato slice between two chopsticks, slice the potato on a bias, making sure the chopsticks prevent you from cutting all the way through. Flip the potato and do the same this on the other side.


criss cross potatoes with butter in a cast iron pan on the plancha

Place a large cast iron pan on the plancha and melt 1 cup of butter. Add in the criss-cross cut potatoes and place in the smoker and allow to cook for 30 minutes.



smoked and golden criss cross potatoes being seared on the plancha to get crispy

Once done, transfer to the plancha and allow to crisp up, flipping midway. Reserve the butter from the pan for the scallops.


a bowl filled with fresh tarragon, herbed cream cheese, cream, white wine, lemon zest and lemon juice, being mixed together

In a bowl, combine the fresh tarragon, herbed cream cheese, cream, white wine and use a microplane to grate in the garlic. Add lemon zest from one lemon and juice from half. Mix.


fresh grated parmesan cheese on top of the creamy cheese sauce

Add in the grated parmesan cheese, but reserve 1-2 tbsp for garnish. Mix.


the cheese sauce bubbling in a cast iron pan on the plancha

Add the cheese sauce to a cast iron on the plancha and allow to melt and bubble, stirring often.


scallops being seared on the plancha

Pat your scallops dry. Place on the plancha and pour some of the remaining butter from the potatoes on top, allow to sear 2-3 minutes. Flip and sprinkle with salt, the juice from half a lemon and season with pepper. Sear, about 2-3 minutes more until cooked.


seared scallops being placed on top of a criss-cross potatoes covered in cheese sauce

To plate, place your potatoes down, cover in the cheese sauce and place a scallop on top of each cheesy potato.


a fork cutting into a scallop that is plated on top of a criss-cross potato topped with cheese sauce

Add the other half of grated parmesan cheese over top, garnish with fresh tarragon and enjoy.


And now for the full recipe...


Seared Scallops Gratin and Criss Cross Potatoes

Serves 2 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


Ingredients:

2 russet potatoes

1 cup butter

4 U10 scallops

1 tbsp fresh tarragon

150g herbed cream or soft cheese

1 tbsp cream

1 lemon, zest + juice from half

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

¼ cup white wine

1 clove garlic

Salt

Pepper


How to Make Seared Scallops Gratin and Criss-Cross Potatoes


Set Smoker to 350F.


Slice your potatoes length-wise into half inch pieces. Centering each potato slice between two chopsticks, slice the potato on a bias, making sure the chopsticks prevent you from cutting all the way through. Flip the potato and do the same this on the other side.


Place a large cast iron pan on the plancha and melt 1 cup of butter. Add in the criss-cross cut potatoes and place in the smoker and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Once done, transfer to the plancha and allow to crisp up, flipping midway. Reserve the butter from the pan for the scallops.


In a bowl, combine the fresh tarragon, herbed cream cheese, cream, white wine and use a microplane to grate in the garlic. Add lemon zest from one lemon and juice from half. Mix. Add in the grated parmesan cheese, but reserve 1-2 tbsp for garnish. Mix. Add the cheese sauce to a cast iron on the plancha and allow to melt and bubble, stirring often.


Pat your scallops dry. Place on the plancha and pour some of the remaining butter from the potatoes on top, allow to sear 2-3 minutes. Flip and sprinkle with salt, the juice from half a lemon and season with pepper. Sear, about 2-3 minutes more until cooked.


To plate, place your potatoes down, cover in the cheese sauce and place a scallop on top of each cheesy potato. Add the other half of grated parmesan cheese over top, garnish with fresh tarragon and enjoy.


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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!

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