By Riki Senn

Riki Senn creates, writes and edits curriculum for the Viking Cooking School locations throughout the United States.

Cornmeal-Crusted Scallops with Truffled Mushroom Ragoût and Creamy Polenta


Mushroom Ragoût    

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots (2 medium shallots)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 ounces (about 3 cups) white mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 3/4 ounces dried mushrooms (chanterelle, porcini, or morels), reconstituted*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, of drinkable quality
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add oil and heat through.
Add shallots, thyme, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until shallots have softened. Add mushrooms and salt; sauté until mushrooms have released all of their liquid and have begun to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add white wine and stir to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Cook until wine has evaporated completely. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes; add stock, stirring to incorporate completely. Cook until stock is slightly thickened, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add minced parsley and truffle oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Creamy Polenta

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced (1 large shallot)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat a 4-quart sauce pot over medium heat; add olive oil and heat through. Add minced shallots and cook gently until shallots are soft, but not brown. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then add cornmeal in a thin steady stream, stirring continuously.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened to the consistency of very thick cake batter, about 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Scallops   

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (about 16 scallops) fresh large sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish optional
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, paprika, and pepper; dredge scallops in mixture. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add oil and heat through. Add scallops and sauté until crisp and golden brown, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Turn scallops and sauté until other side is crisp and brown and scallops are just cooked through. (Note: For very large sea scallops, transfer the pan to a 450°F oven for an additional 2 to 3 minutes).

Divide soft polenta between four heated soup plates. Spoon some of ragoût over each portion of polenta. Divide scallops evenly among the plates, placing them on top of the mushroom ragoût. Garnish each plate with watercress or parsley, and serve immediately.

*To reconstitute dried mushrooms, cover them with boiling water or stock and let sit until they are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the rehydrated mushrooms out of the liquid, and use the mushrooms as desired. The liquid is full of great mushroom flavor and may be used to flavor soups or sauces and dishes such as risotto, couscous, and rice pilaf. Before using, strain the liquid carefully through cheesecloth to remove any grit.

Nutritional analysis per serving
Calories: 500 Protein: 35g Carbohydrates: 53g Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 74mg Sodium: 1000mg Fiber: 6g

Yield: 8 servings