Ok, I know this dish takes a bit more time and effort, but its worth it if you want to really impress. I wanted to show something as well that uses a lot of basic cooking fundamentals like braising, sautéing, etc. If your pan is not hot enough, your scallops won’t brown properly before they overcook. You learn those little details by doing it over and over, night after night in a restaurant. I think this is a great take on the surf and turf idea. Serve as a fancy appetizer that will have you and your guests begging for more.
For The Scallops:
4 U-10 fresh jumbo sea scallops
For The Short Ribs:
4 meaty boneless beef short ribs, 4” in length
2Tsp olive oil
2 Tsp butter, unsalted
1/2 sweet onion, large, chopped
1 carrot, large, chopped
1/3 cup chopped portobellos
2 celery sticks chopped
1/3 cup chopped fennel
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/3 cup aged red wine vinegar
4 cups veal stock or beef broth
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bouquet garni (4 parsley stems, 3 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf –tied together or in a cheesecloth)
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup peeled, seeded, and diced Roma tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato sauce
Sea salt and black pepper, as needed
For The Roasted Tomato Aioli:
1 egg, soft-boiled (8 minutes)
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup roasted tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 tsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 basil leaf
4 Tbsp water
For The Basil Oil:
2 cups picked, washed basil leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For The Short Ribs:
1. Preheat the oven to 450’F. Remove any fat from ribs and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place ribs in the oven on a sheet pan with a rack. Sear in the oven for 15 minutes to remove fat and brown. Reserve.
2. Heat a 4 qt heavy-bottomed braising pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp each, butter and oil. Add the chopped onions, carrots, mushrooms, celery, and fennel. Cook until light brown. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and vinegar. Continue to cook until almost all the liquid is reduced.
3. Place the ribs in the pan along with the stock and bouquet garni. Cover the pot tightly. Gently cook the ribs in a 275’F oven until they are tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
4. Remove the pan from the oven, Reserve the ribs. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
5. In a clean saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil. Saute the sliced garlic until tender but not browned. Add the flour, mix well, and cook the flour for 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and reserved broth from the ribs. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the Roasted Tomato Aioli:
1. Place the egg in a blender with the minced garlic, roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Blend on high speed while slowly adding the olive oil. At the last minute add the basil.
2. Strain through a fine sieve; adjust the consistency with the water and season with salt and pepper. Reserve for service.
For the Basil Oil:
1. Wash basil and pick off leaves. Blanch leaves in a small pot of boiling water for about 5 seconds. Remove and place in ice bath until cool. Squeeze to remove all the water. Rough chop and add to a blender or food processor. Turn on and slowly drizzle in oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Strain through a coffee filter and put in a small plastic squeeze bottle. Keeps refrigerated for up to 1 week.
To Assemble The Dish:
1. Heat a medium non-stick pan over high heat. Add the oil and allow to heat until just begins to smoke. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides until golden brown on both sides. Don’t over cook, they should be medium rare to medium.
2. Slice the meaty part of each rib into 3 or 4 slices. Reheat gently in the sauce. Place the slices on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon a little sauce over the meat. Place one scallop on top of the ribs and drizzle with basil oil, roasted tomato aioli and sea salt. Serve immediately.
If you are too busy to make this dish yourself, you can always hire Chef Michael Thompson to make it for you in your home. Contact him at 732. 948. 2352 or michael @ chefmichaelthompson.com