Scallops with Miso Butter
Miso, that umami-rich paste made from fermented soybeans (and sometimes other grains), is turned into something luscious when combined with butter. Miso comes in many versions. This recipe uses a mild, very easy to find light miso that can be found in many supermarkets these days.
Miso appears in many Japanese recipes, miso soup being the most familiar. Miso is also very useful in Western dishes, especially when a rich depth of flavor is desired. I like to use a spoonful in my beef stew if the beef broth I’m using isn’t as rich as I’d like. If soy sauce is a staple in your kitchen, miso should have a place right next to it. Think of it as a richer, more complex flavored soy sauce in paste form.
This recipe uses a miso butter made by combining butter and light miso paste. I like to make a bit of extra miso butter. It’s awfully good spread on toast for breakfast. I also love to fry an egg in it.
The savory miso butter in this recipe is a perfect match for the sweet flavor of scallops. Buy the largest scallops you can find for this recipe. They’re easier to cook without over-cooking and have the best flavor. Dry packed scallops are the best, but can be difficult to find (and pricey).Just make sure the scallops you have are as dry as possible before sautéing. Paper towels will do the trick. Plan on 5-6 large scallops per person for a main course.
Scallops with Miso Butter
10-12 scallops (the largest you can find)
½ tsp vegetable oil
1 tablespoon light miso
2 tablespoons butter plus 1 teaspoon, slightly softened
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sherry
lemon zest for garnish
Place the scallops on a sheet of paper towels and pat dry.
Make a paste of the butter and miso. Set aside. Slice the shallots thinly
Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat. Rub the scallops with the oil and place without crowding into the hot pan. Sauté on each side to brown the tops and bottoms for about 1 ½ minutes. The scallops should be slightly undercooked (they should still feel slightly soft when squeezed). Remove from the pan and set aside
Wipe the pan out with a moist paper towel and place back on stove on medium heat. Sauté the shallots just until they turn translucent in the teaspoon butter. Add the sherry and heat through for about a minute to cook off the alcohol.
Add the butter-miso paste and turn the heat off. Stir until the butter has melted and return the scallops to the pan to heat through for a minute or two.
Spoon the shallots and miso butter over the baby greens; arrange the scallops over the shallots. Season with black pepper and garnish with the lemon zest,