So this was a concept I had in my back pocket since the summer, but just never got around to making until recently. I love blood orange and I love scallop, and I wanted to do an Asian fusion take on it with elements of French, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines. The one issue I always have when cooking with scallops is that I never knew what to do with the abductor muscle. It is this chewy piece of the scallop that is unpleasant and stringy. But I recently saw what chef Mei Lin(winner of Top Chef, owner of nightshade restaurant here in L.A.), did with hers, and I was impressed, per usual with everything she does! She took the abductor muscles and actually used them for XO sauce. That’s pretty brilliant, because by braising the muscles down over time, that will guarantee that they will be soft, tender, and it imparts umami into the sauce in place of the dried scallops. For the rest of the dish, I wanted to feature brined or cured scallops, since the blood orange will counteract that saltiness with acidity and sweetness.
For the components of my dish, we have a blood orange “XO” sauce, using the scallop abductor muscles, a blood orange-ponzu curd, the brined scallops, and a coral tuile. With this dish, you get an umami-rich component in the XO, an acidic but sweet and creamy element in the curd, the rich scallop acting as the body of the dish, and the coral tuile to add height and crunch. I named the dish “Fantome”, which is French for ghost. It references the white and red aesthetic of the dish, being a little dark and creepy, while it was named in French specifically because of the French elements, such as the curd and the tuile.
For the blood orange “XO” sauce:
abductor muscles from the scallops
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon blood orange zest
1/4 cup blood orange juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
Sweat out the chili flakes, zest, ginger, and shallots in the oils first. Deglaze with the orange juice, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and add in the abductor muscles. Allow that to simmer on low for at least 30 minutes before transferring to a bowl and refrigerating.
For the blood orange-ponzu curd:
juice and zest from 1 blood orange
1 teaspoon white miso
1/4 teaspoon mirin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Reduce mirin and blood orange juice and zest first. Once reduced by half, pass through a sieve and whisk in your butter and miso. Transfer to a piping bag or a small squeeze bottle and refrigerate until thickened.
For the brined scallop:
4 raw scallops
3 tablespoons salt
1 cup water
Remove the abductor muscles from the scallops and reserve those for making the XO sauce with. Melt the salt into the water and allow the scallops to sit in that for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry and slice in half, along the width, then again, along the length to create half-circle shapes.
For the coral tuile:
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
Line a nonstick pan with oil. Whisk the other ingredients together to form a batter and ladle in some of the batter onto the hot pan, allowing it to bubble. The batter will gradually simmer down into a solid, lace-like texture. Carefully remove and transfer to a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
Arrange the slices of brined scallop on the plate first. Add in dots of your blood orange curd, then your do small dollops of the XO sauce. Finish with the tuile pieces.