It hardly seems possible, but it has been almost nine years since Clifford Pleau was heading the kitchen at California Grill. He left Disney, of course, to become the executive chef for an as-yet unnamed new concept from Darden Restaurants that turned out to be Seasons 52. I caught up with Pleau by phone in King of Prussia, Penn., where he was overseeing the opening of the 10th Seasons 52. When I reached him, he was, at that very moment, cleaning scallops for the recipe presented here.
“This recipe is perfect for this time of year,” says Pleau. “It’s nice and light and citrusy.” The chef offered some tips for making the recipe. Use extra virgin olive oil and put it in a spray bottle. He says you can find pricy ones at fancy kitchen stores, but “I think the dollar-ninety-nine bottles you can get at a beauty supply store work just fine.”
He also says to be sure to wash the citrus and use the zest, being careful not to get any of the “white stuff” because it would lend an astringent flavor. A skewer fashioned out of lemongrass or a sugar cane will keep the scallops together. For the tabbouleh, Pleau suggests a bit of crumbled feta cheese on top “for a little color and pizzaz.” For a plate garnish, he says to roast lemon slices under a broiler. The heat will give the yellow lemons a nice brown scorch and will loosen up the juices.
Since opening the prototype Seasons 52 on Sand Lake Road in summer of 2003, Darden has moved slowly to open others, but the pace has been quickened. “Now,” says Pleau, who travels about one week each month to oversee the restaurants, “I’m starting to get my stride.”
SEARED SEA SCALLOPS WITH CITRUS TABBOULEH AND MANGO VINAIGRETTE
8 ea Jumbo sea scallops
1 tsp Blackening spice
1 tsp Kosher salt
6 spritz Extra virgin olive oil, in spray bottle
½ ea Juice of lemon
• Heat non-stick skillet on medium high.
• Pat scallops dry and season with blackened spice and salt.
• Spritz pan four times with extra virgin olive oil.
• Add scallops, not touching, do not stir or move.
• Sear scallops for 2 minutes, turn and sear for 2 more minutes.
• Squeeze lemon into pan with scallops to deglaze.
• Remove pan from heat.
• Arrange scallops creatively on plate with citrus tabbouleh and mango vinaigrette.
* For a little extra kick add a few drops of Sriracha Hot Sauce to the plate
Makes 1 Cup
1 ea Mango
1 fl.oz. Rice vinegar
1 tsp Chipotle Tabasco
1 pinch Kosher salt
Remove mango skin and pit.
Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Puree until smooth.
Transfer to squeeze bottle and refrigerate.
1 cup Bulgar wheat
2 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs Ginger, minced
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 ea Lime, zest and juice
1 ea Lemon, zest and juice
1 ea Orange, zest and juice
6 oz Water
5 drops Chipotle Tabasco
12 ea Orange segments, cut in 4
¼ cup Sun-dried cranberries, reconstituted
¼ cup English cucumber, diced small
¼ cup Tomato, diced small
¼ cup Pine nuts, toasted
½ cup Mint leaves, chopped
½ cup Parsley, chopped
• Wash and zest lime, lemon, and orange. Squeeze juice and reserve.
• Place the bulgar wheat in a flat glass baking dish.
• Combine olive oil, ginger, salt, and citrus zest. Mix with the bulgar.
• Combine citrus juice, water and Tabasco. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
• Pour liquids over bulgar, set aside covered for 1 hour.
• Place bulgar in a bowl, add all other ingredients and toss lightly.
• Refrigerate until needed.