1½ lb [750 g] parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp [30 ml] vegetable oil
¼ cup [60 ml] unsalted butter
3 leeks (white part only), sliced and thoroughly cleaned
3 French shallots, finely diced
6 cups [1.4 L] organic chicken broth
3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp [5 ml] fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp [30 ml] maple syrup
½ cup [125 ml] heavy cream
18 small scallops
1 tbsp [15 ml] vegetable oil
Sea salt and white pepper (or black pepper)
Preheat oven to 375°F [190°C]. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bol, combine the chopped parsnip with the vegetable oil, mixing well to make sure the vegetables are well coated. Spread the parsnip on the baking sheet. Grate some nutmeg over, then sprinkle with salt and white (or black) pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, turning the vegetables at mid-cooking point.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and shallots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and keep on cooking, stirring once in a while, for 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, roasted parsnips, diced pears, bay leaf, thyme and maple syrup. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove pot from heat, remove the bay leaf and let the soup cool a little.
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup finely, or cool slightly and purée in batches in a standing blender, transferring pureed soup back to a clean pan on low heat. Incorporate the cream, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Keep warm on the lowest heat while you prepare the scallops.
Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan over high heat. Dry the scallops thoroughly (to ensure a good sear).
Sprinkle with sea salt and white (or black) pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the scallops and sear about 1½ minutes per side (don’t move the scallops, except for turning them), or until golden on both sides but still translucent in the middle (you can check this by viewing them from the side). Be careful not to overcook the scallops as they will keep on cooking a little in the hot soup.
To serve, ladle the soup in warm shallow bowls and add about 3 seared scallops per bowl. Sprinkle with best quality olive oil and sprouts, if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe Credit: Adapted from Coup de Pouce magazine