Pan-Fried Scallops with Curried Mushrooms
Inspired by Curried Scallops with Mushrooms, Way to Cook, Julia Child (Knopf 1989)
Earthy mushrooms, well-browned to bring out their full flavor and seasoned with aromatic Indian garam masala, pair perfectly with sweet, pan-fried scallops. For Teeny Metcalfe, this dish is “all about” the mushrooms and Indian spices; she says it’s also delicious made with halibut or chicken. The amount of garam masala should be adjusted depending on how spicy you like your food. The pan-frying is my innovation; scallops may instead be added to the sauce for the last few minutes of cooking time as is done in the original recipe. When he was growing up, Ray’s mother often served curry with little bowls of traditional toppings like raisins, chopped peanuts, diced bananas, and mango chutney. He serves those toppings, and others, with all curries. Ray loves them; Teeny doesn’t. Though I enjoyed a few currants sprinkled on top, I drew the line at bananas. Ray insists they’re absolutely delicious; maybe you’ll be more brave. Basmati rice and green salad round out a lovely meal.
1 pound white button mushrooms
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 cups diced yellow onion, 1/8″ dice
1-2 Tbsp. garam masala, best quality
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 pound scallops, or 16 medium
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Toppings (optional): Currants, Raisins, Chopped unsalted peanuts, Shredded unsweetened coconut, Diced green onions, Mango chutney, Diced fresh bananas
Cook Mushrooms: Sauté mushrooms, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until they’re well-browned on all sides; add olive oil, if necessary. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove all ingredients to a bowl and set aside.
Add remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan; turn heat to medium low. Stir in onions, lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sauté until onions soften and start to turn golden. Stir in garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in thyme and white wine. Return to heat, bring wine to a boil and cook until wine is reduced by half. Stir in 2 cups stock, bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper, or garam masala, as needed; add remaining stock, as needed. When you stir in mushrooms, start cooking scallops.
Cook Scallops: Heat olive oil over high heat in frying pan large enough to hold all the scallops. When oil is very hot, add seasoned scallops, and cook on first side for 1-2 minutes, depending on scallops’ size. Turn scallops over and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Except for turning them over the one time, don’t move the scallops or fidget with them while they cook. Scallops brown better if they aren’t repeatedly turned.
Assemble: Spread mushrooms on serving platter. Arrange scallops over mushrooms. If using toppings, serve surrounded by small bowls, each filled with a different topping.