Mark Curtis's Seared Scallop Recipe from the Cook-off on Wednesday December 7, 2011.
Place the potatoes in a 1-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Add the cream, 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the white pepper. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until smooth. Cover the pan with a lid and set aside until ready to use.
Heat a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the scallops with the remaining teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan and place the scallops in the pan. Sear for 1 minute on the first side then add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Continue to cook for about 30 more seconds and then turn over. Cook the scallops for 30 seconds on the second side and remove from the heat.
To plate the dish, place half of the potatoes on a warmed plate and divide the scallops between them. Drizzle the basil oil around the plate and garnish with the chiffonade of basil. Serve immediately.
In a small bowl combine 1 cup of ice with 1 cup of water and set aside. In a small saucepan bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves all at once, stirring to make sure they are all submerged. Cook for 5 to 10 seconds, then remove by using a skimmer or slotted spoon. Transfer the leaves immediately to the ice bath. Remove the leaves from the ice bath and squeeze firmly in your hands to release as much liquid as possible. Transfer the leaves to a blender along with the olive oil and salt, and process until the leaves are finely pureed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the basil oil through a fine sieve or coffee filter. Place the oil in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Use the oil at room temperature, drizzled over salads, vegetables, sandwiches or grilled foods.
Yield: about 1/2 cup basil oil