I have known Chad Sarno since meeting him at a raw food convention in Jamaica in 2000, where we immediately became friends. He had an amazing restaurant in London called Saf. He is also the co-author of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook and the co-founder of Wicked Foods alongside his brother, chef Derek Sarno. They shared this king oyster mushroom scallops recipe (yum!) from their book and it’s so yummy. Makes a perfect dinner appetizer for when you really want to impress.
The technique of pan-searing while basting with butter creates a rich, golden crust on mushrooms. It works great on crosscut slices of king oyster mushrooms, which have thick, firm stems and relatively small caps. It’s even better when you simmer king oyster “scallops” with sea vegetables and miso in a dashi-style broth to amp up their savory umami taste before pan-searing. With a creamy puree of Corona beans and some shaved asparagus, the seared scallops make a sexy plated appetizer. Make the Corona butter a few days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. —Chad
SERVES 6 AS A PLATED STARTER
King Oyster Scallops
6 cups water
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
3 thin slices fresh ginger (no need to peel)
6 cloves garlic, halved
2 (6-inch) pieces kombu
2 tablespoons white miso
6 king oyster mushrooms
2½ tablespoons plant-based butter, softened
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced extra-fine
2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Asparagus Garnish
1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
2 teaspoons best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons yuzu juice or lemon juice
2 shallots, sliced wicked thin on a mandoline
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups *Corona Bean Butter (see below), for serving
- For the king oyster scallops: To make a broth, combine the water, tamari, ginger, halved garlic, kombu, and miso in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer gently for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Taste the broth. It should have a slightly salty, slightly savory flavor. If it tastes under-seasoned, add a bit more miso.
- Meanwhile, remove the mushroom stems from the caps. You’ll be using only the stems, so keep the caps for another use (see Pro Tips for ideas). Slice the stems crosswise into coins about 1 inch thick. The shapes will resemble scallops. You should get 3 or 4 scallops from each stem.
- Drop the scallops into the broth and simmer very gently until they absorb the flavors, 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately or chill in the fridge in the braising liquid for up to 1 day.
- FOR THE TAMARI BUTTER: Stir together the butter, tamari, and minced garlic in a small bowl.
- TO SEAR THE SCALLOPS: Score the poached mushrooms with a few crosshatch cuts on each side. Heat a large heavy sauté pan (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat. Turn on a fan or open a window because pan-searing the scallops will produce some smoke. When the pan is hot, add the 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, tilting the pan to coat it evenly. Carefully place the scallops in the hot pan— tongs are helpful here. Let cook undisturbed until the scallops are nicely seared on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Add dollops of the tamari butter around the pan, and tilt the pan to help it seep underneath the scallops. When it does, flip the scallops and sear the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. While searing, spoon the melted butter over the tops of the scallops. (Spooning helps to brown the scallops and keep the butter from burning on the hot pan.) Flip one or two scallops over to make sure you have a nice golden-brown sear on each side. When both sides are golden brown, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS GARNISH: Using a vegetable peeler, shave each spear of asparagus along its length. Remove all of the green peel from each spear. These are the shavings you will use. Refrigerate the remaining inner white part of the asparagus for another use (see Pro Tips).
- Right before serving, bring a pot of water to a boil and set up a bowl of ice water. Drop the shaved asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water to halt the cooking process.
- Gently toss the shaved asparagus with the olive oil, yuzu juice, and shallots. Season lightly with salt and pepper and taste, adding more seasoning if you think it needs it.
- Grab 6 small plates and swoosh a big spoonful of *Corona butter on each plate.
- Place 3 or 4 scallops on the *Corona butter and garnish with a small handful of shaved asparagus.
*SLOW-COOKED CORONA BEANS with ROSEMARY and LOTS of GARLIC
1 pound dried Corona beans
About 8 cups Vegetable Stock (page 284) or store-bought low sodium
8 cloves garlic, chopped coarse
3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 dried red chiles, such as cayenne
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Soak the beans overnight in water to cover.
- Drain the beans and place in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the liquid simmers, cover, and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Test by pressing one bean on a cutting board: It should crush easily but not be mushy. (While the beans are cooking, check the liquid level now and then; you may need to add a bit more stock or water to keep the beans covered during the entire cooking time.)
- Serve hot with some of the cooking liquid.
*CORONA BEAN BUTTER: After cooking the beans, remove the rosemary, bay leaves, and chiles. Transfer half of the beans and their liquid to a bowl or stand blender, add 1/3 cup olive oil, and blend until very smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate for a few days, then spread anywhere just like butter. Makes about 2 cups.
- Slice the leftover mushroom caps and use in a stir-fry or soup, or chop them to add to the mushroom filling in Porcini Ravioli (page 211). You could also add them to Mushroom Stock (page 284).
- If the mushroom stems are different diameters, you can use a small ring mold or cookie cutter to cut them uniform (if you’re fussing for a special occasion). To use the leftover broth, strain out the solids and use the broth to cook noodles.
- You can pan-fry the leftover asparagus for a veg bowl. Or add it to a stir-fry. Or do what we did for the green sauce dollops in the photo: Blanch the leftovers and a few asparagus spears in boiling water for 30 seconds, shock in ice water, then puree with a little olive oil and salt. That gives you a simple asparagus puree to decorate the plate here and there.
About Wicked Healthy
The Wicked Healthy Cookbook presents a simple game plan endorsed by every doctor and health organization in the world: eat more plants. Chefs Chad and Derek Sarno are among the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based cooking and this cookbook shares their secrets for making killer meals. Celebrating the central role of beautiful, crave-able food for our health and vitality, Chad and Derek give readers 129 recipes for everyday meals and fancy dinner parties alike, and also show us how to kick back and indulge now and then.