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Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Gluttonous Sins Class: Bacon

Bite and Booze: Three Glutton Sins Class: Bacon: Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction
Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction
Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction
As part of the recent cooking class I taught at Fresina's Pasta Company in Baton Rouge, I incorporated bacon into a dish as my second gluttonous food sin.  Bacon is fondly known to me as the candy of all meats.  It can be sweet, smokey, spicy, salty, savory, and more.  It is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  It pairs with beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, or anything else.

Had long been conjuring up a dish similar to this with sweet potatoes and seas scallops when I saw a post from fellow Master Chef contestant David Mathie Bersch that included a maple bacon relish over sea scallops with sweet potato gnocchi and a balsamic reduction.  Inspired, I decided to do my own version.  The following recipe is adapted from David's recipe, so I can't take all the credit... or I'm at least willing to share the credit with him!


Course 2: Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction


(Inspired by my fellow MasterChef contestant David Mathie Bersch)

SCALLOPS:

20 U10 Sea Scallops
Bacon Fat Reserved from Relish (below)
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Italian Parsley (or Oregano as pictured above) for Garnish

SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:

5 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Grated Romano Cheese
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Cup Unbleached AP Flour plus more for Rolling
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

MAPLE BACON RELISH:

8 Strips of Bacon, Chopped
1 Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, Julienned
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Julienned
2 Serrano Peppers, Stemmed, Seeded, and Diced
8 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Fresina’s Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Cup Maple Sugar
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

BALSAMIC REDUCTION:

1/3 Cup Fresina’s Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Wrap sweet potatoes in foil.  Roast for about an hour or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction
Seared Sea Scallops, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Maple Bacon Relish, Balsamic Reduction
While potatoes are roasting, place a large sauté pans over medium high heat.  Render the bacon 3/4 of the way cooked.  Remove the bacon from the pan and transfer to a bowl, leaving as much bacon fat in the pan as possible.  Transfer half the bacon fat to another pan and reserve for the scallops.  In the first pan with the other half of the fat, add the onions and fry them until translucent.  Add all the peppers and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes until the peppers soften.  Add the garlic and the reserved bacon back to the pan, cooking for another 2 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and reduce.  While reducing, add the maple sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Set the relish aside until needed.

When the sweet potatoes are fork tender, take off the skins and let cool to the touch.  Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash them extremely well.  Fold in the Romano cheese, then season with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Add eggs, and then add the flour a little at a time while mixing until it forms nice dough that’s not too sticky but just right.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Cut into quarters.  Dust a board or table with flour and roll the dough into snakes followed by cutting the snakes into one inch pieces.  Make indentions in the gnocchi with the prongs of a fork or roll them on a gnocchi board.

Place balsamic, sugar, and cayenne in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Allow to simmer and reduce by half until it has a syrupy consistency.

Boil the gnocchi for about two to four minutes till they float.  Remove from water.  Re-season with salt pepper. Reheat relish and place the reserved pan with bacon fat over high heat.  Dry scallops, season lightly with salt and pepper, and sear in batches for about two minutes on each side or until a golden brown crust develops on the outside.  Add more reserved bacon fat for additional batches or use canola oil.

Place three scallops on a plate in a triangle.  Add a handful of gnocchi to the middle of the triangle.  Top each scallop with maple bacon relish.  Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the gnocchi and around the scallops.  Garnish with Italian parsley or oregano.