Two of my perennial summer favorites are about to go the way of open toed shoes: out of season. Tonight I decided to combine my love for golden sweet corn and blackberries, creating a dish that pays homage to summer’s last stand against autumnal breezes, the harbingers of wool pants and first frost. I admit it…berries and corn are not a natural pair. Mating the two felt naughty at first, but with a little help from scallops and a hit of aged balsamic vinegar, I ended up with a dish that promises to be much more than just a one-night stand. This uniquely inspired entrée wants nothing more than to impress the pants off my next dinner guest (and neither do I!)
Scallops over Creamed Corn with Balsamic and Blackberries (serves 2)
• 2-3 ears of Golden Sweet Corn
• 1 package of Blackberries
• 6-10 large Sea Scallops
• Aged Balsamic Vinegar (enough to drizzle)
• ¼ cup Heavy Cream
• 3 TB Butter
• Olive Oil
• Salt and pepper
Start by creaming the corn. Using a chef’s knife, separate the kernels from the core. Melt the butter in a sauté pan on high heat until it gets frothy; before it browns add the corn. In September, when corn is still in peak season it need not be sautéed for very long to bring out its full sweetness. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes or until the sweet smell of corn fills your kitchen. Start with a ½ cup of heavy cream and add salt to taste. Puree in a blender, adding more cream as desired. You can play with consistency by adding more or less cream, but for my money, creamed corn should be thick and velvety.
Next, prepare your scallops. Sear the scallops on high heat in a heavy bottomed sauté pan using a mixture of butter and olive oil. Season them first with salt and peeper while waiting for your pan to heat and butter to melt. Then place the scallops in the pan and do not move them while they brown. After the first side gets color, about 2-3 minutes, flip. When finished, both sides of the scallops should be golden brown, and the inside should be layered from fully-cooked near the top and bottom of the scallop, to silvery, almost raw in the middle.
To plate, pour a layer of the pureed corn on a plate and drizzle an aged, syrupy balsamic vinegar over the top. If you do not have an aged balsamic on hand, you can make a reduction with standard balsamic simply by bringing the vinegar to a boil and reducing it on medium heat until the vinegar turns into a glaze. You might even throw some of your blackberries in the reduction, but be sure to strain out the seeds before plating. Drop 3-5 scallops on each plate and top with fresh blackberries. A word to the wise, go easy on the vinegar. It can easily overpower your dish.