Scallops, Chicken, Bergamot

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This is the antipasto I prepared for our Christmas dinner. It was inspired by a dish we had at Devero** in Italy in June.

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This was what the dish at Devero looked like and what I wrote about it in my review: “Scallops with yuzu and chicken may sound like a weird combination, but it is very tasty indeed and one of the best of the evening thanks to the outstanding wine pairing. The chicken is present as very crispy chicken as well as very concentrated chicken stock. The scallops are raw. The yuzu brings it all together. Unctuous scallops, crispy chicken skin, fresh yuzu and umami of the chicken stock.”

My dish is more simple than what was served at Devero. I couldn’t find yuzu, so I decided to use the most exotic citrus I could find instead, a bergamot orange. I wanted to garnish with green shiso leaves for color, but those were sold out.  I decided to allow the chicken stock to firm up so I could use it as a base for the crispy chicken skin to stand up. Of the bergamot orange I simply used the juice and zest. The dish ended up quite different from what we had at Devero, but very nice indeed with a good combination of flavors and contrast between textures. It’s nice that the dish is only made from three ingredients! (Not counting a bit of salt.) Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

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For 4 servings

4 large fresh sea scallops

skin and carcass from a chicken (reserve the legs and breast for another use)

1 bergamot orange

salt

4 shiso leaves for garnish (optional)

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. First remove the skin from the chicken’s breast. Then remove the chicken breast and the legs, and reserve them for another use. Put the carcass in a roasting tray.

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Roast the carcass for half an hour at 190ºC/375ºF.

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Spread out the skin on a large silicone mat (or use two smaller ones).

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Fold the silicone mat over the chicken skin, so the chicken skin is caught between silicone from both sides. Put a lasagna dish on top…

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…and fill it with something heavy and oven-proof, like the ceramic beans I normally use for blind baking. Bake the skin between the silicone mats for 45 minutes at 190ºC/375ºF.

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When the carcass has finished roasting, pour the fat out of the roasting dish.

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Take the roasted carcass out of the roasting tray and put it in a stock pot or pressure cooker. Add a litre (a quart) of water to the roasting tray and use a wooden spatula to release all the browned bits from the roasting tray so they will be included.

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Then pour the water from the roasting try into the stock pot or pressure cooker.

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Bring the stock pot to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 3 hours, or bring the pressure cooker to pressure, lower the heat, and pressure cook for 1.5 hours.

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Pour the chicken stock through a fine sieve into a wide shallow pan…

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…and reduce it over medium heat, stirring now and then, until it is very thick and there is only about 80 ml (1/3 cup) left.

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Pour the chicken reduction into a small bowl and refrigerate to allow it to firm up.

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This is what the chicken skin should look like after roasting for 45 minutes.

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Pat it dry with paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature to crisp up even more.

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The chicken skin will be thin and crispy.

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When you are ready to serve, put a scallop between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound it to flatten it.

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Don’t worry if it breaks up, simply arrange it on the plate as nicely as you can.

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Grate some bergamot zest on top of the scallop…

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…and squeeze a bit of bergamot juice on the scallop as well. Season with salt only if needed. When you buy sea scallops they are often already shucked and salted.

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The reduced chicken stock should have firmed up. Cut it into four pieces.

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Season the chicken skin with salt and break it into four pieces. Put a piece of jelled chicken on top of each scallop, and insert a piece of chicken skin into the jelled chicken such that it stands up. Serve.

Wine pairing

The dish at Devero was amazing with a Timorasso, a white wine from Piemonte. This wine may be difficult to find, but many dry, full bodied, complex, but unoaked whites will do for this.

Flashback

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The combination of first briefly hot smoking and then cooking sous-vide gives amazing results with many cuts of meat, as the smoky flavors can penetrate into meat while it cooks low and slow, and the meat will be wonderfully tender and succulent. It was also amazing with leg of lamb, turning it into a wonderfully smoked ham of lamb with very little effort.

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