Recipe: Roasted Nantucket Bay Scallops

Samantha Tancredi

Executive chef David Andrew Carson of Bacchanalia – one of many renowned culinary establishments developed by chefs Anne Quatrano and chef Clifford Harrison in Atlanta, Georgia – takes a visionary approach to his work, incorporating layers of textures and flavors. Using only the freshest ingredients, here is the recipe for chef Carson’s beautiful Roasted Nantucket Bay Scallops.

Whether the city of Atlanta is your temporary destination or permanent residence, Quatrano and Harrison’s Bacchanalia is the go-to restaurant for top-notch dishes and five-star service.  Since its debut twenty-two years ago, it has been nationally revered for its exceptional American cuisine and considered the ideal setting for celebrating every special occasion.

Chef David Andrew Carson reigns as the leading innovator behind the restaurant’s seasonal prix fixe menu. The five-course meal is structured around the area’s local ingredients, including the owners’ Summerland Farm where herb gardens flourish and acres of agriculture grow. The recipe to chef Carson’s Roasted Nantucket Bay Scallops exemplifies his skilled professional direction and offers us a greater understanding of what goes on behind Bacchanalia’s kitchen doors.

A brief word from the mastermind:

“We have served these flavors and ingredients together in various forms and preparations for many years at Bacchanalia and the Quinones Room. The Scallops and Truffles share a very distinct time of year that we have access to them, which is mid November until late February or March. We try to utilize all parts of the products in different forms to achieve multiple textures and flavors for the final presentation.”

Cauliflower Purée

2 cups cauliflower trim from heads and stems
2 large shallots
4 tbl butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup half and half
Salt and pepper
Gently sautée shallots in 2 tbl butter until soft and translucent.
Add cauliflower trim to pan and sautée until fragrant.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add wine and reduce until almost dry.
Add stock and cream to pan and cook until tender.
Transfer to Vita prep and blend on high for 1 full minute while adding remaining 2 tbl butter to emulsify.
Strain through fine mesh sieve and hold until serving.

Black Truffle Purée

2 tbl butter
2 large shallots
1 cup black trumpet mushrooms cleaned and washed thoroughly
1/2 cup black truffle scraps reserved from shaving
1/2 cup red port wine
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 cup grape seed oil
Salt and pepper
In a medium sauce pan, sautée mushrooms in butter until cooked and fragrant.
Add shallots and cook until translucent.
Deglaze pan with sherry vinegar and cook until dry.
Add port wine and reduce to 2 tbl.
Transfer to a Vita prep and blend for 2 full minutes with micro-planed truffle scraps while slowly adding grape seed oil until fully emulsified.
Strain through fine mesh sieve and hold warm until serving.

Cauliflower and Romanesco Stem Chips

1 stem of cauliflower trimmed and peeled with vegetable peeler
1 stem of Romanesco trimmed and peeled with vegetable peeler
Using a mandolin, slice stems very thin into ice water.
Hold in ice water for at least 30 minutes.
Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Fry at 300°F until golden brown and crisp.
Season with salt and pepper and reserve.

To Serve

Nantucket Bay Scallops seasoned with salt and black pepper
1 shallot brunoise
2 cloves garlic brunoise
1 cup cauliflower floretttes
1 cup Romanesco florettes
1/2 cup watermelon radish diced
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbl butter
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Tarragon and chervil chopped
Pea shoots from Summerland Farm
Roast scallops in a hot cast iron pan on one side until deep golden brown and crisp.
Shake pan to flip and remove from heat, allowing scallops to sit in pan and warm through.
Transfer to a tray lined with paper towel to rest.
Sautée garlic and shallots in butter until translucent and fragrant.
Deglaze with lemon juice and add chicken stock.
Add vegetables and butter and reduce to form glaze on outside of vegetables.
Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, toss in chopped herbs.
Garnish with herbs and pea shoots.



“We try to plate this dish in a way that almost forces the guest to eat all of components in each bite no matter how many bites it takes. Each of the elements of the dish serves a purpose and brings something to the dish. The scallops are rich and sweet. The truffle is earthy and acidic. The cauliflower purée is fatty and unctuous. The vegetables are still crunchy and fresh and the anise flavor of the herbs really helps to round out the vegetal element.”

© Bacchanalia

By chef David Andrew Carson. © Andrew Thomas Lee