Seared Sea Scallops w/ Sweet Corn Cream, Quail Egg and Black Truffle

The truffle season has officially started! Early black truffles from Burgundy (not as pungent as the ones from Perigord but quite nice) and Alba white truffles have appeared on the markets last week. The price tag is so stiff that if you take the plunge, you better knock-yourself unconscious. It’s down right outrageous, yet one taste will leave you a convert. The heady aroma from truffles will transport you and linger on your palate for hours after the last bite, it’s intensity is not easily forgotten.

So, this was my first black truffle this year and I made two dishes with it. The first was seared sea scallops with a sweet corn cream, quail egg & black truffle inspired by a Gordon Ramsay recipe in his book Three Star Chef and the second dish was a risotto with grilled pancetta, rock shrimps and black truffle. I’ll blog about that one next. For the scallop dish i like to store the quail eggs overnight with the black truffle so they absorb some of its fabulous aroma. It’s a quite simple dish, a cream of sweet corn, some piquillo pepper coulis, the sea scallops seared to a golden brown, a thin slice of truffle, a quail egg sunny-side up with more black truffle and fleur de sel on top, a little mache salad… et voila!

Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Corn Cream, Quail Egg and Black Truffle
(makes 4 servings)

For the sweet corn cream:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt

For the scallops:

  • 12 fresh sea scallops, cleaned
  • 4 tbs grapeseed oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 12 quail eggs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 small black truffle, brushed clean

For serving:

  • Piquillo pepper coulis (optional)
  • Mache
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fleur de sel & black pepper

  1. For the sweet corn cream: Melt the butter and add the corn kernel. Stir over high heat for a few minutes and add the stock and cream. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Push the cream through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. Season with salt. Keep warm or reheat before serving.
  2. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil and sear the scallops until golden brown (about 1 to 1/2 minute on each side) adding the butter halfway through the cooking time to give them a rich golden color.
  3. Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan heat the remaining grapeseed oil. In two batches (or more) carefully crack the quail eggs with the tip of a knife and drop them into the hot pan. When the eggs are cooked a sunny side-up transfer to a plate and keep warm. You can use a pastry cutter to neaten the edges.
  4. Ladle some of the warm sweet corn cream on each plate, top with 3 scallops, cut thin slices of black truffle and place on top of each scallop. Carefully place a quail egg on top. Top each quail egg with fleur de sel, black pepper and black truffle julienned. Garnish each plate with mache salad tossed with olive oil and a little fleur de sel and piquillo pepper coulis, if using.
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  • Manggy

    How could you do this to me?!!? Now I am cursing myself for being so far from Europe (or any other source of truffle), so poor (or not having a rich boss, heh), and unskilled in the kitchen.
    Ah, but maybe I can get away with just the scallops with the egg and sweet corn cream. Poor man’s Zen Chef masterpiece, haha! Your version looks well beyond four-star to me!

    * If you ask me, it is so not worth it to make the commitment (2-3x a week, 6 months, $50-$200, no extracurricular activities) to sell sperm! Yikes!

  • Cakebrain

    That’s a fantastic sear on your scallops! I haven’t had black truffles in ages! the dish looks so decadent! yum!

  • Uncle Dee

    Nice! You made Gordon Ramsays 3 star recipe!

  • Claude-Olivier

    ben, des truffes noires, il s’embĆŖte pas le zen chef on dirait šŸ˜‰ ciao

  • Big Boys Oven

    this is so beautiful….and awesome delious meal for me not sure about others … so gorgeous . ..

    manggy: I rate this as 6stars!

  • The Caked Crusader

    I’m rather partial to some truffle shavings – love the idea of it with a quail’s egg.
    This looks a very lovely dish. Would i make it? No. Would I be delighted it someone made it for me? Yes!

  • acey

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sure looks and sounds good!

  • Stacey Snacks

    These are gorgeous at 9 a.m. in the morning!
    I would like some truffles in my scrambled eggs please!


  • Darius T. Williams

    Looks good and I’m LOVING the flavors here!


  • doggybloggy


  • One Food Guy

    What a gorgeous plate! I’m curious, though, why you use grapeseed oil as opposed to olive oil or canola/vegetable?

  • cakewardrobe

    I want a doggy bag of scraps !!! You partially solved my issue for dinner tonight! I don’t think I can turn something out as beautifully composed as you though!

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    Doesn’t big Bossman read your blog? He’ll be thrilled about the scrambled eggs with scraps of truffle. The best risottos I had were made with stolen (not by me) white truffle scraps from the restaurante.
    Kiss me? I don’t know, but I would defenetly kiss you for those quail eggs!

  • cook eat FRET

    ok – so like this is over the top beautiful and i am jealous. this year i am totally buying a white truffle and it will be all for me. ok and my guy. but no one else…

  • Manger La Ville

    This is just beautiful and so sophisticated. I bet the creaminess of the quail egg complements that of the scallop. Plus, the truffle always provides a great earthiness. Nice play on land and sea (truffle and scallop.) It is great finding your blog!!

  • Heather

    When I was a single girl in my 20s, I used to dab truffle oil behind my ears in hopes of attracting a man of good taste. It never worked, (but I ended up married anyways). Where were the cute Frenchmen like you?

  • TavoLini

    once again, I am amazed and astounded by your cooking–its just so beautiful!

    (How did you get the aphrodisiac effect to go through my computer screen?!)

  • peter

    I have to console myself with truffle oil- though sometimes I buy the black truffles in a jar for an extra-fancy meal. I love quail eggs on scallops- they fit just right, and the yolk is perfect with the sweetness of scallops (and corn.) Nice work.

  • oneshotbeyond

    These look like happy little pops of sunshine! oh…how do they taste?!!!

  • Adam

    Whoa, super fancy dish you have there Zen Man. One of my goals in life is to make enough money to afford truffles one day :) I’m going to make it happen, just so I can say it!

    Haha thanks for helping me reach 52 my good friend.

  • glamah16

    Truffles are one of the sexy foods on mylist and this is one sexy dish. Love how you described the truffle experince. Alas all I can afford is the lowly oil.

  • Nicole

    This is just beautiful. I can imagine the taste like a fairytale. Can’t wait to read about the risotto!

  • Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

    what a beautiful final product. Although I must admit I am holding my breath and waiting for the ‘eggs on everything’ trend to wear itself out. Those scallops look so tempting, but the runny egg is not my favorite.

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    OMG, would you be my personal chef?

  • Olga

    it looks so pretty! I’ve never had quail eggs in my life…wonder if they taste any different than a normal egg

  • Tartelette

    Ok, Mark deserves the award for first commenter on your site!
    Bon alors, si tu sors l’artillerie truffe ou vas t-on?!! Superbe comme d’hab!

  • Emiline

    You leave me speechless everytime I read your blog.
    I’m dapping my tears away…

    You’re brilliant!!

  • We Are Never Full

    perfection on a plate.

    the presentation alone is worth $$

  • Diana @ Appetite for China

    You used an entire black truffle for the scallops? That sounds so decadent…and perfect. :)

  • La Belette Rouge

    I have given you an award for all your yummy food porn.;-)

  • T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types

    I have never tasted a black truffle, and now you’ve put the idea in my head. Love the colors in this dish, and the tiny eggs stacked on top of the sea scalops – gorgeous!

  • Gloria

    Look fantastic Chef Zen and ….tempting!!!! delicious! Gloria

  • Chicopea

    Why Zen, I didn’t know you had an inner-divo šŸ˜‰ I have a good hairmask for you.

    bravo! I really love quail eggs, plus you don’t get to see it often so it was nice of you to give it some spotlight :)

  • white on rice couple

    Lovely, lovely truffle! Goodness, to get my hands on something like that I’d have to work overtime for a few days to afford it! I’ll just have to life a truffle life through you!
    BTW- Pedro, you just had me rolling off the floor!!! Vote for Pedro!!!

  • Chicken And Waffles

    Once you go black (truffle), you never go back.

  • Jennifer Ludgin

    Wow, you are talented! These foods look delicious! :)


  • farida

    What an interesting creation! You are one talent, I have to say. I like your food presentation a lot. So neat!

  • Anonymous

    This dish looks so delicious that I am attempting to make this for my friends…. and I honestly do not know how to cook. So with the truffle… I don’t have to cook or anything right?

  • Terrazzo Floor Care Lauderdale

    Give me more!


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  • Down under

    If you are looking to get some Black Truffle the Truffle Queen is one i highly recommend. Her truffles are the freshest and most regarded i have tasted.