Saltimbocca is a traditional Roman recipe made of thin slices of prosciutto pounded over scaloppine of veal, which gives the veal a savory complexity. In this recipe, Chef Nicotra uses speck to bring the same complexity to sea scallops. Scallops have a similar texture to veal, so it makes sense. Seafood and speck together create a wonderful sweet-and-salty combination. Serve with sautéed spinach, drizzled with good balsamic vinegar.
- 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- 12 dry sea scallops, “foot” or side muscle removed (about 12 ounces to 1 pound)
- Kosher salt
- 12 small fresh sage leaves
- 12 thin slices speck
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 ears corn, shucked, husks reserved
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ to ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Peel ½ pound of the potatoes, and cut them into matchsticks. Soak them in a bowl of ice water for 1 hour. Season the scallops lightly with salt.
Press a sage leaf onto the top of each scallop, then wrap each scallop in a slice of speck, trimming to fit if necessary. Pour about 3 inches of vegetable oil into a medium pot and heat to 360 degrees. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the corn, and simmer until the kernels are tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain, and rinse to cool. Cut the kernels from the cobs, and reserve. Put the remaining 1 pound potatoes in the same pot with water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook about 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and peel while still hot. Press through a ricer or food mill back into the pot, adding butter to melt over low heat. Add enough cream to make a smooth purée. Stir in the corn kernels and chives, and season with salt. Cover and keep warm.
Drain the potato matchsticks well and fry, in two batches, in the heated oil until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the scallops and sear on both sides until the speck is crisp and the scallops are just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
To assemble: On a plate, place the corn purée on one side. Place three scallops on top of the purée. On the other side of the scallops, arrange the fries, either in a dry corn husk or in a small takeout container or small bowl, for an interesting presentation.