scallop-3I just spent nine days away on a work trip at the Sundance Film Festival.   I was working long hours, morning, day and night with my colleagues.  There were a lot of great moments, but also a lot stress and tension, the kind that comes with doing an enormous amount of work in a condensed period of time – basically festival life.  Emotions are running high at a film festival, lots of excitement and expectation.  We were pulled in many different directions by our duties and clients – movies, parties, meetings, interviews and a lot of organization, but every once in a while we would have a down moment to spend at our condo overlooking the Park City ski mountain.

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scallop-7Veterans of the film festival, one of the first things we did after checking into our Park City condo was do a big shop at Whole Foods.  We loaded up on healthy food so that we could at least make our own breakfast and coffee every day to have some kind of familiar routine and if we had the luck to be working from home for a bit we could make our own food and sit down to lunch or dinner.  Those moments in the kitchen and sitting around the table were the most grounding of the week.  For those brief moments we were entirely ourselves again.  No matter what was going on professionally or personally, the warm handmade food we ate rested our minds and hearts.  We were so tired sometimes we could barely formulate complete sentences and communicated with each other in grunts, but that didn’t stop us from getting busy in the kitchen.  We made simple things like big bowls of whole wheat pasta with tomato anchovy sauce and lightly sautéed kale that we would eat dressed in our loungiest sweat pants, but in that moment it tasted like the best food in the world.  It tasted like home, like comfort, like peace….scallop-4

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SCALLOPS WITH SWEET POTATO + GOLDEN BEET MASH + CAPER SALSA VERDE lightly adapted from The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries  This is a pretty quick and easy dinner, but also warm and comforting for when you want to ground down with your friends or family.  It looks like there are a lot of ingredients in this dish, but it works with whatever you have on hand, don’t worry if you are missing a couple of ingredients.  It tastes great even without the capers, or mustard, or if you just have sweet potatoes for the mash.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped (if they are kind packed in salt soak for a few minutes and then rinse before using)
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons  lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped soft herbs (could be any mix of basil, mint, cilantro, and/or tarragon)
½ cup olive oil
sea salt
1 pound each sweet potatoes and golden beets, peeled and chopped (tip: cut the beets into slightly smaller pieces, they take a little longer to cook than the sweet potatoes)
4 tablespoons butter
a few sprigs of thyme
1 dozen very large day boat scallops or 2 dozen regular sea scallops
a handful of cooked greens, chopped parsley or other herb
crème fraîche for serving (optional)

Combine capers, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Stir in herbs and olive oil and season with a pinch of salt.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add sweet potatoes, beets and a large pinch of salt.  Cook until vegetables are very tender about 20 minutes.  Drain vegetables and use a potato masher to mash them.  Season with salt.

Heat butter and thyme in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Once the butter starts to brown add scallops and season with salt.  Cook until well browned on bottom 2-3 minutes, turn and cook until just browned on other side another 2 minutes.

Arrange scallops on the mash, pour over any remaining brown butter from the pan.  Drizzle the caper salsa over the scallops, scatter a few sautéed greens or chopped herbs over the scallops and optionally garnish with a few dollops of crème fraîche.