Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter

After discovering that fresh whole wasabi plants were available in the United States, Adrian J.S. Hale found all kinds of innovative uses for them, such as this butter-rich sauce in which the pungent heat of the wasabi root, or rhizome, is balanced by the delicate earthiness of the leaves for a mild heat and slight bitterness that accentuate the sweet flavor of plump pan-seared scallops. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our June/July 2014 issue with Hale’s story “Mean Green.”

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter
This butter-rich sauce in which the pungent heat of the wasabi root, or rhizome, is balanced by the delicate earthiness of the leaves for a mild heat and slight bitterness that accentuate the sweet flavor of plump pan-seared scallops.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 5 wasabi leaves, plus a 2″-piece wasabi root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (1″) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. sea scallops

Instructions

  1. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of water to a boil; cook wasabi leaves until tender, 3-4 minutes. Transfer leaves to a bowl of ice water until cool; drain and squeeze dry. Roughly chop leaves and transfer to a food processor. Add sliced wasabi, 5 tbsp. butter, the lemon juice, ginger, and salt; purée until smooth and set wasabi-ginger butter aside.
  2. Melt remaining butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper; cook until golden, 3–4 minutes. Flip scallops and add wasabi-ginger butter; cook scallops, basting constantly with butter, until cooked through, 3–4 minutes more. Divide scallops between 4 plates; spoon sauce over the top.