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.”
- 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
- 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.
- 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.