As our cottage became a destination for travelers near and far, we had a chef from Alaska come for a stay. I created this recipe to make sure she felt both at home and impressed with the caliber of food. The salad is finely chopped into a uniform mixture—hence the name “gravel”—creating a marvelously crunchy, juicy background to the meaty scallops.
- Prep the scallops: Rinse and pat the scallops dry, then season with salt. Allow them to come to room temperature while you make the veggie gravel.
- Make the veggie gravel: In a medium bowl combine the celery, radishes or cucumber, preserved lemon, mint, olives, and olive oil together until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Turn to medium-high once hot, add a tablespoon of the olive oil, and swirl to coat. As soon as it shimmers, add half the scallops, keeping space between them to avoid crowding. Cook for a minute, then add half the butter, dragging it around the scallops using a knife or tongs as it foams.
- Sear the scallops, 3 minutes on the first side to develop a golden crust, then turn to the second side and baste with the hot fat, tipping the pan toward you to collect spoonfuls, pouring it over scallops continuously, for about 30 seconds. Scallops are ready when they are firm-bouncy when pressed with the back of a large spoon. Transfer them to a plate and repeat with second batch, adding more oil and butter as you did for the first batch.
- Add the green garlic and deglaze the pan with the wine. Reduce until it just coats the pan surface, about 1 minute. Add back any accumulated scallop juices from the plate and bring to bubbling once more, then transfer to a small bowl.
- Arrange the veggie gravel on a serving platter. Place the scallops on top, garnish with flowers and sedum, pour the green garlic pan sauce over, and season with pepper. Serve at once.
- NOTES: If green garlic is out of season, use 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced on a mandoline.
- Finely chopped arugula and parsley, or chervil leaves, or other soft herbs, can be used in place of the flowers and sedum tips. If you make this in summer, use edible flowers such as borage or nasturtium for garnishes.