Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops with Fennel Sauce and Vanilla-Scented Sweet Potato Puree

Main courses
By Chef Julien Lancrerot, Waterscapes at Marina Inn

24–30 10/20 fresh scallops or 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Salt and pepper
1 cup olive oil

Fennel Sauce:
2 fennel bulbs, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of thyme flower or a pinch of dried thyme
Zest of half an orange
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet Potato Puree:
4 large sweet potatoes
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Salt and pepper



For the scallops:
Place scallops on waxed paper and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan on high heat. Gently and carefully, place scallops in hot oil. Sear on one side for 1–2 minutes or until the outside is crisp. Flip to the other side and repeat.

When fully cooked (brown and crisp on both sides), transfer scallops onto a plate.

For the fennel sauce:
Remove any bruised outer leaves from the fennel and its tough core. Mince the fennel and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat. Add in the minced onion, minced fennel and garlic and let it sweat. When translucent and tender, add in the white wine and let it reduce to half its volume.

Then add the broth, fennel seeds, thyme, orange zest and cover. Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or until the fennel is fully cooked.

Pour off the liquid and set aside. Put the fennel into a blender and puree while adding back one cup of the liquid. Puree until smooth. Add in more broth for a thinner consistency.

Pass the sauce through a strainer into a sauce pan. Add the cream and place back on the stove and continue to reduce the sauce to desired consistency.

For the sweet potatoe puree:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick potatoes and place them onto a foil-lined baking sheet on middle rack for about 1 1/2 hours or until very soft. Set the potatoes aside until completely cool.

In the meantime, place the heavy cream and vanilla into a saucepan and reduce the cream to half its volume or until thick and creamy. Set aside.

Scoop out the flesh of the cooled potatoes and place into a food processor. Add in the vanilla cream. Puree the potatoes until smooth and creamy in consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.