Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter
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.Helen Rosner

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
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.