Though our small town of Cambridge is located deep in a landlocked state, we can get remarkably fresh fish. Our own Cranberry Bob works on a fishing boat off of New Hampshire and delivers fresh tuna, flounder and large scallops on Fridays. Cranberry Bob is his own story. He is owner of the Vermont Cranberry Company which is the largest cranberry farm in the state. When not tending the bogs, he spends his time foraging wild mushrooms, consulting for vineyards, skiing or fishing professionally. It’s good to be Bob.
The scallops he delivers are my favorite and since they take to sweet sauces well, I surmised that maple would make an excellent glaze. First I needed to counter the sweetness with something earthy and miso turned out to do the trick. I tried mixing a few of the infused maple syrups with it to see which was most complimentary and the Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup was the clear winner.
To round out the flavors and bring them back from the edge of too sweet, I chose sautéed Swiss chard to place them on. I have always found that chard is a vegetable one feels they ought to eat rather than something they want to eat but here it is perfect. In fact, for this dish, I dare say it is an integral element for balance so go ahead and place that huge bunch of chard prominently in your cart knowing it will result in something delicious and not obligatory. I used red chard for the color but white or yellow also work.
Seared Scallops with a Miso and Cardamom Maple Glaze over Red Chard
- 1 lb large scallops
- Oil for sautéing
- 1 Tbsp white miso
- 1 Tbsp Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup
- 1 large bunch red chard
- 1 quarter fresh lemon
- Salt and pepper
Rinse the scallops in cold water and, if necessary, remove the tough muscle that is sometimes found on the side. Pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold all of the scallops, uncrowded, in one layer. Add the scallops and sear on high heat until nicely browned, 5-7 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook the other side until just done, about a minute more. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix the miso and Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup. Flip all of the scallops so the seared side is face up. Dab a small spoonful of the miso-maple mixture on each one and spread it so the top of the scallop is covered. Set aside until just before serving.
To prepare the chard, rinse the leaves well and remove most of the stems (this is a personal preference, some like the added crunch). Chop the leaves, put some oil in a medium sized pan and add the leaves. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until they are wilted but not browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice.
Just before you are ready to serve, turn your broiler on high. Place the scallops under the broiler and leave them until the miso-maple has started to bubble and brown, about 3 minutes. Reheat the chard and place it on a plate. Take the scallops from the broiler and place them on top of the chard, browned side up. Serve with rice or couscous. Serves 2-3 depending upon how many scallops you want per portion.