In October, Brussels sprouts reach the peak of their fall seasonality and yield a more intense flavour. There are many ways to serve brussel sprouts, but my favorite is seared in a pan with caramelized the edges that create a crunchy, charred bite that complements savoury fall dishes.
As Brussels sprouts can be slightly bitter, I like to add a little bit of sweet-and-sour flavour to create contrast in the dish.
Smoked paprika aioli
2 cups canola oil
Scallop abductor muscles (see instructions)
2 cloves garlic
½ cup white wine vinegar
Smoked paprika 1 tbsp
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
Juice of ½ a lemon
5 cups Brussels sprouts
½ cup honey
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp butter
50 ml white wine
½ cup guindilla peppers, diced
½ cup feta cheese (crumbled)
First, clean the scallops. Wearing gloves or with very clean hands, lay your scallops out on a cutting board. Pick up one scallop. Look on the side of the scallop for a piece of muscle that is slightly more yellow in color than the rest of the white flesh. That is called the abductor muscle. Using two fingers, remove the abductor muscle from the scallop and place it in a bowl. Repeat this step with the other scallops. Place all of the scallops in a food safe container and place in the fridge until later. Reserve the abductor muscles for the smoked paprika aioli.
Next, make the aioli. Place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Pour in two tablespoons of canola oil. Once the oil is almost at smoking point, toss in the scallop abductor muscles. Sear each on one side for about two minutes – adding color creates more flavour.
Once the scallops have a nice golden brown sear, add in the remainder of the canola oil to the pot and turn the heat down to low.
Using a knife, slice the jalapeno and garlic thinly and add them both to the oil. The oil should be very low heat and the contents should be barely bubbling, at most. Once the scallop, jalapeno and garlic have steeped for about 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat.
Leave the pot out at room temperature to cool down completely. Once all the contents are cool, strain off the oil, reserving it in a food safe container. Discard the other ingredients.
In a blender, combine the vinegar, smoked paprika, egg yolks, Dijon mustard and salt. Blend them until combined. Set the blender to medium speed and open up the small hole in the lid. Slowly pour in a steady, thin stream of the flavoured oil. Add it in a small bit at a time to ensure the fat emulsifies with the other ingredients. The contents in the blender should start to thicken and look creamy. Once you have added in all the oil, turn off the blender. Transfer the aioli to a small bowl. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, making sure not to let any seeds fall in. Stir in the lemon juice, taste and add additional salt if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve until later.
Now it’s time to make the Brussels sprouts. Combine honey, white wine vinegar, sugar, salt and lemon juice in a small pot and place over high heat. Bring the pot up to a simmer. Transfer the glaze to a food safe container and let it cool at room temperature.
Using a knife, cut the ends off of the sprouts and then cut them in half lengthwise. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and place over high heat on the stove. Add a big handful of salt and bring to a boil.
Add the brussel sprouts to the boiling water. Let them cook for two minutes while filling another bowl with cold water and ice. Strain off the boiling water and place the sprouts in the ice bath. Remove after two minutes, and lay out on a baking tray lined with paper towel.
To finish the dish, place two nonstick sauté pans on the stove, one large and the other medium sized. Pour about two tablespoons of canola oil into both. In one pan, place the brussel sprouts cut-side down. Turn the heat of each element up to medium-high heat. Season the two faces of the scallops with salt.
Let the brussel sprouts cook, checking each to make sure they are turning golden brown. Once they are golden brown on the cut side, flip them in the pan. Pour in the reserved glaze and let the sprouts cook for a few more seconds. Toss them, season them with salt and then transfer them to a medium-sized bowl.
Once the smaller pan starts to smoke, add the scallops to the pan, flat side down. Let them sear until the face is golden brown as well. After the face is seared, flip them in the pan. Add the butter and wine, taking the pan away from the open flame as you do to avoid flare-ups.
Using a big spoon, baste the butter and wine mixture over the seared side of the scallop. Baste them over the heat for an additional minute or so, then remove them from the pan. You want to cook them to medium-rare for the perfect texture. Place them on a paper towel, seared side up.
Plate the brussel sprouts first. Garnish them with feta and guindilla peppers. Dot the smoked paprika aioli all over the plate and sprouts, place the seared scallops around the plate and serve.
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