Diver Scallops – Truffle Mashed Potato – Vodka Beetroot Vinaigrette

Scallops and beatroot When this photo was of a Diver Scallop dish was  posted on my Facebook page many people messaged me asking for the recipe.  So now it is finally up.

This dish is a  fusion between the sweetness of the scallops, the “earthy richness” of the truffle mashed potato along with  the cutting  “ZING” of the vodka-beetroot vinaigrette, making this dish an all around winner!
Technique: The only aspect of difficulty to this dish is the actual cooking of the scallops. Scallops need to be rinsed off under cold water quickly if dirty and patted dry immediately with absorbent paper before seasoned and cooked.

Once patted dry and seasoned they should go immediately into a smoking hot saute pan. Prior to adding the scallops add a pad of unsalted butter to the hot oil and swirl it through, to melt it  evenly and completely throughout the pan.

At this stage, place the scallops in the smoking hot saute pan evenly spaced out. Then do not touch them for 2-3 minutes!

“At this stage toss into the pan some herb sprigs. You want to use aromatics that have a nice essence to them and also are hearty enough to stand up to the heat of the saute pan and not burn. Parsley, cilantro and basil sprigs  for example would be poor choices. Thyme, rosemary, or bay leaf are perfect for this technique,  they give a light perfume to the oil and to the tender flesh of the scallops.”

After the scallops have cooked and colored for about 2-3 minutes flip them over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on the other side.

No, scallops do not have to be evenly colored on both sides!



One side deserves nice caramelized coating, this would be your presentation side. The flip side only needs ‘light colorization’ and then out of the pan.

“Take my word on this people, if you make the effort to beautifully caramelize both sides of the scallops you will 9 times out of 10 wind up with an over cooked end result.

“There is nothing worse  then customers receiving a plate of beautifully looking “OVER COOKED” scallops!”

“The flesh of the scallop becomes rubbery and the delicate sweet flavor along with  the velvet smooth texture is lost.”

“We are  shooting for sweet and sexy… not rubbery and over cooked.”

For more on scallops check >http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/blog/ingredients/scallops/


D’ Artagnan is a great resource for all specialty items. I am a graduate of the   Culinary Arts Institute in Jersey City , N.J ( the school that kicked off my career)… which is in the same city as  D’ Artagnan, Jersey City.

So, yes I am a little partial to them, but all the best chefs and restaurants use them as well. They will ship to many places in and out of the U.S.A.  > http://www.dartagnan.com/57612/Truffle-Butter–Oil.html?CMCID=SEM_G_Brand_Brand&gclid=CMnVhav3hakCFcTd4AodyntSrQ

They can supply you with all things truffle and much more. Many people may not no where to get truffle butter from for this recipe. D’ Artaganan can solve that problem.


Diver Scallops – Truffle Mashed Potato – Vodka Beetroot Vinaigrette

serves: 6

For this recipe the amounts are for appetizer portions



Truffle Mashed Potato


  • Potatoes – 10-12 (medium seized) of your favorite mashing potatoes. I personally like Idaho.
  • Black truffle butter – 5-6 good tablespoons
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • MilkCream – use equal amounts of both. Start off with a  1/2 cup of each mixed together, giving you a total of i cup. Add more or less as you proceed
  • Truffle oil – 1-1/2 tablespoons
  • Black pepper – fresh cracked black pepper added to taste at the very end in order not to lose its aroma.
  • Salt – Kosher salt to taste



  • Scrub potatoes and put them in a large pot. Cover them by 2 inches in lightly salted water and bring to boil. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are very tender.
  • Measure out all other ingredients while the potatoes are cooking. Keep the butters once measured out cold in the refrigerator. It is best to add the butter cold to the hot potatoes when mashing. This technique created a smoother end result.
  • Bring the milk/cream to the boil and turn off.
  • Drain the potatoes, peel them and pass them while warm through a  food mill, over a large saucepan. One can also use the traditional hand-held potato masher.
  • Stir with a spatula or mix in an electric mixer, and incorporate the butter and milk, in 2-3 stages off the fire.
  • Mix in some of the  butter, once the butter is incorporated, add some liquid, repeat in this way until the butter and liquid are all used up. This technique for mashed potatoes creates a fluffy and smooth end result.
  • Once the mash is created season to taste with the Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and truffle oil. Be generous with the fresh cracked black pepper. Black pepper and truffle and a delicious combo together and you want to try to capture that by adding a liberal amount of it while at the seasoning stage.
  • Serve immediately.


Diver Scallops: Diver scallops are basically sea scallops that have been hand-picked by a scuba divers.

They are more ecologically friendly and less gritty than the boat-harvested variety, which are dragged along by chain nets that skim the ocean bed. Divers select mature scallops from areas with strong water currents, which helps to make sure that they have firm, plump flesh and nice color. Diver scallops tend to be fresher, since they are shipped directly and not held in boats while they are sorted through.



  • Diver Scallops – 12 scallops, rinsed off under cold water if dirty and patted dry. (2 scallops per person)
  • Oil – about 2 table spoons of a neutral cooking oil
  • Butter – one pad of unsalted butter
  • Herbs – one small bunch of fresh thyme
  • Salt – Kosher salt
  • Pepper – fresh cracked black pepper.



  • Heat a saute pan over high heat add the oil
  • When the oil begins to smoke slightly add the butter, swirl it all over the pan
  • Once the butter begins to lightly color place in the scallops evenly spaced and toss into the pan the thyme.
  • Push the thyme through the oil and around scallops. Do not move or lift the scallops for at least 2-3 minutes to obtain a nice and even caramelized color.
  • Flip the scallops and finish cooking as per technique at the top of this post.
  • Remove from the pan and serve immediately over the truffle mashed potato and dressed with the vinaigrette.

*Follow the above procedure and technique at the top of this post in order to get the best results when cooking the scallops.


Vodka and Beetroot Vinaigrette:


Use Spanish Sherry vinegar for this recipe. > http://catavino.net/the-delicious-vinagre-de-jerez-or-spanish-sherry-vinegar/

  • Beets – 2 medium beets (scrubbed clean_
  • Oil – 1 cup  of a neutral oil. I suggest sunflower
  • Jerez vinegar – 1/2 cup ( Spanish sherry vinegar)
  • Vodka – a shot glass more or less ( add this like a seasoning…a little at a time stirring it in and tasting in a couple of additions until you reach the balance of vodka you like.
  • Salt/Pepper/Sugar –  to taste


Procedure: preheat over to 450*F.

  • Place the washed beets in a sheet of tinfoil. Sprinkle over some oil, a hand full of water and a dusting of salt.
  • Place a sprig or two of fresh thyme on top and fold closed,  keeping the seam side up
  • Roast in the oven on a sheet tray for approximately 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, test the beets for doneness. If a knife can be easily inserted in them through the tinfoil, they are done.
  • Remove, open the package and let cool. Keep all liquid that has accumulated in the foil while roasting. This will be added to the vinaigrette.
  • Once cool, peel the beets by removing the outside skin.
  • Slice the beets into quarter-inch rounds, then into large match sticks and dice them into neat squares.


“Beets will stain anyone and anything at this stage. If you are worried about turning your hands pink wear kitchen gloves. Place parchment paper over your work area and or cutting board while cleaning and cutting them as well. This insures for a quick and clean up.”


  • Mix the oil and the vinegar together. This is NOT an emulsified vinaigrette. Meaning it should remain un-blended. The beauty of this vinaigrette it the way it looks on the plate.
  • The un-blended look gives this vinaigrette the big “WOW” plate presentation, when the red from the beets and the pinkish from the Jerez vinegar  are floating in the oil on the plate. This is the “sexiness” of the dish.
  • Add the diced beetroot and season to taste with the salt, pepper, sugar and the vodka, to create a balance to your liking.
  • cover and let the vinaigrette set in the fridge for at least one hour. This allows all the flavors to amalgamate and for the beets to bleed into the dressing giving it that extraordinary plate appeal.


To Serve:

  • Place the hot truffle mashed potato on a plate in a quenelle  shape (small football shape)
  • Top with the pan seared scallops
  • Mix the vinaigrette enough to get a nice spoonful of the vinaigrette and beets. Picking up as much of the bled beet colors as possible.
  • Spoon neatly around the mashed potato. NOT on top of or over the scallops and beats. You want the dish to look delicately dressed and eye appealing. Do not get the red from the vinaigrette on to the white color of the potatoes, it will spoil the appearance of this beautiful dish.
  • Crack one turn of fresh black pepper over the dish, garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve.


Savor Life…One Bite…At a Time






  • Pamela

    Just reading about this combination of truffle mashed potatoes and scrumptious scallops served with the beet vinaigrette made my mouth water! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Pamela,
    This dish is an all around winner. It makes for a great appetizer and is an impressive way to kick off any meal.
    Thank you for the comment,

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