Selanne’s Heavenly Scallops – Sauce Balances Sweet and Sour Flavors to Perfection

Chefs, Recipes, Restaurants, Videos By Mar 20, 2014

Joshua Severson’s culinary talents aren’t limited to topnotch red meat cookery. The executive chef for Teemu Selanne’s steak-centric restaurant in Laguna Beach, Severson also works his magic with seafood. His impressive work experience includes a stint working with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio at award-winning Craft Steak in Las Vegas. But his flair with fish stems from his Pacific Northwest upbringing, where he grew to love the region’s produce and seafood from Puget Sound.


I’m a fan of the scallops on Selanne Steak Tavern’s appetizer menu. The Pacific Diver Scallops with Pickled Chanterelles, Black Garlic and Cauliflower Puree is a favorite. How delighted I was when he consented to show me how to concoct it in my home kitchen.

Watch this short video to see how easy Chef Severson makes it look! Catch his tricks.

With the exception of the pureed cauliflower, it’s a one-skillet dish.

The puree is easy to prepare; the cauliflower florets cook in a saucepan along with some tender sweet onions and is blanketed in heavy cream. Once tender, the whole shebang is pureed and seasoned with salt and truffle oil.


He uses U10 scallops, a size designation that means fewer than ten of these beauties add up to less than a pound. They are 1 1/2- to 2-inches across and are sushi grade; the scent is as fresh as the deep waters of the ocean.

black garlic

Once seared in a hot skillet, mushrooms and black garlic come to the party. The mushrooms, chanterelles and Shimeji, were added along with white balsamic vinegar and black garlic. The black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic with a sweet-sour taste; it is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks. It is sold at Surfas Culinary District in Costa Mesa and online at

Chef Severson said that home cooks could substitute quartered cremini mushrooms for the harder-to-find ones that he uses in his quick-pickled mix, and that they could substitute roasted garlic for black garlic.

Pacific Diver Scallops with Pickled Chanterelles, Black Garlic and Cauliflower Puree
Yield: 2 servings, plus leftover cauliflower puree
Cauliflower puree:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, such as Walla Walla or Maui onion, cut in matchsticks
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
About 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Salt to taste
Optional: black truffle oil, divided use
4 diver scallops, sushi grade U-10 preferred
Salt and white pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Mushroom mixture:
1 ounce small fresh golden chanterelle mushrooms, washed, air-dried
1 ounce Shimeji mushrooms, washed, air-dried
Salt and pepper for seasoning
3 to 4 ounces butter, divided use
2 cloves black garlic, peeled and split in half
1 medium shallot, cut into very thin crosswise slices
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 small sprig fresh thyme
Optional garnish: fresh chervil sprigs
1. Prepare cauliflower puree: Place oil in large thick-bottomed large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add cauliflower florets and cover with heavy cream. Simmer over low heat until florets fall apart to the touch of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid. Place cooked florets in blender and add just enough liquid to start the cauliflower blending, about 2 tablespoons.  Blend until completely smooth, adding more reserved cream if necessary. Remove the puree from blender and transfer to a food-safe container and adjust seasoning with salt and truffle oil, if desired. (For a nice soup, add additional cream or broth to the unused portion of the puree and whisk.)
2. Prepare scallops: Dry scallops with paper towel. Season them with salt and white pepper. Place 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in a thick-bottomed skillet on medium-high heat. When oil is very hot but not smoking, add scallops and cook until bottom edges start to turn golden to dark brown, about 1 minute. Turn the scallops over. Add mushrooms and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté for one minute. Add 1 ounce butter, black garlic, shallot, vinegar and thyme. Baste scallops with a spoon by tipping pan towards you and spooning browned butter over the scallops for about 10-15 seconds. Remove scallops to a paper towel. Remove excess browned butter from skillet. Over medium heat, add white balsamic vinegar and reduce by half. Remove from heat and add remaining butter, stirring to emulsify.
3. To Plate: Reheat cauliflower puree. Place a tablespoon-size amount of cauliflower puree on each dinner plate; smear it with the back of a spoon. Then place scallops over the puree, spoon mushrooms and sauce over the top of the scallops. Finish with a few fresh thyme leaves and truffle oil to enhance. If desired, garnish with small sprigs of chervil.
Source: Joshua Severson, executive chef Selanne Steak Tavern, Laguna Beach



Farro, an ancient variety of wheat, is both delicious and nutritious.

A favorite way to serve it is in a room temperature salad napped with a citrus-y vinaigrette.


It is especially delicious with Pixie tangerine segments.

Farro Salad with Tangerines
Yield: 8 servings
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided use
3 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided use
Kosher salt, divided use
1 3/4 cups semi-pearled or pearled farro
5 small tangerines, such as Pixie tangerines,  divided use, plus more if needed for juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced including half of dark green stalks
1. Bring 2 thyme sprigs and broth to a boil on high heat. Add a pinch of salt and farro; reduce heat to medium and cook at a low boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; remove and discard thyme sprig (leaves will most likely stay behind and that is fine). Cool.
2. Peel 3 tangerines and tear into segments; set aside. Juice 2 tangerines and place juice in salad bowl; you should have about 1/2 cup of juice (squeeze more tangerines if necessary). Add vinegar, salt and pepper; stir to dissolve salt. Whisk oil into tangerine juice. Add tangerine segments, farro, and green onions; toss gently to coat; taste and season with more tangerine juice, if desired. Remove remaining thyme leaves from stems and add leaves to salad; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Salad can be prepared 6 hours ahead of serving and stored airtight in the refrigerator.


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