mentions pea green, most people think of pea soup made from dried peas. Army
green, hospital green, schoolroom green.Tasty, yes, but not a color that inspires me.
I prefer bright
spring green, which can be brought to your table with vibrant fresh – or, in
this case, flash frozen - peas.
our friend Marie-Claire came to dinner to help us taste a few rosés. It was the
night I made the Parfait of Sweetbreads.
sweetbread appetizer was unbelievably rich, so I wanted to create a light main
were tasting Provençal rosé wines, I put on my Provençal lavender-harvesting
straw hat and asked myself, "WWMD?" (What Would Matisse Do?)
I thought about flavor, color, texture, and composition. Here is what came to
mind ... peas, lemon, fennel, and some nice, plump sea scallops. It all came
together in a flash.
ingredient that really made the whole dish was the garnish of diced Moroccan preserved lemon. The brightness of lemon was perfect with the sweet fennel and
pea purée and the briny seared scallops.
color, texture, and flavor; Matisse would be proud! He might even have approved
of my plating!
Scallops with Fennel-Pea Purée
unsalted butter, divided
1 large white
fennel bulb, sliced, fronds reserved and chopped
7 cups frozen
broth (chicken or vegetable) or water
12 large sea
1/2 cup flour
fennel pollen, or ground fennel seed
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 of a
Moroccan preserved lemon, rinsed and diced
tablespoons butter in a soup kettle over medium heat and add the onions and
fennel bulb. Cook gently until both are soft and translucent; do not brown
them. Add the peas and 4 cups broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer
until peas are tender. Transfer the peas, onion, fennel, and broth to the food
processor; purée. If too thick, add some more broth. Adjust the seasoning.
Clean out the
soup kettle. Then, using a very fine mesh sieve, press the pea purée through
the sieve back into the soup kettle. Add the Pastis and stir; set aside. Discard
solids in the sieve.
Wash and dry
the scallops; remove the tough muscle.
Mix the flour
and fennel pollen, with some salt and pepper, on a plate. Dredge each scallop
on both sides and place on a plate.
heat, melt the remaining butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Sear scallops
for about one minute on each side.
pea purée into 4 heated soup plates, add three seared scallops to each plate,
and top with chopped fennel fronds and some diced preserved lemon.
candles, put on some Édith Piaf to set the mood, and serve with a nice rosé.