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!
For the sweet corn cream:
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
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
- Piquillo pepper coulis (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fleur de sel & black pepper
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.