Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 27, 2022

© Charity Burggraaf

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Dukkah-encrusted scallops

An Egyptian spice blend for salmon, swordfish and tuna

The dukkah makes a perfect crust with its hints of coriander, thyme and hazelnut. You can even use it on salmon, swordfish and tuna. Serving the scallops on a bed of parsnip puree with chanterelles makes it almost too good to be true.

For the puree
4 to 5 medium parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed
¼ c. (60 ml) apple juice or cider
3 tbsp. (45 ml) heavy cream

For the mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tbsp. (30 g) butter, divided
1 medium leek (white parts only), cleaned, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch (0.5-cm) slices
½ lb. (250 g) chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the scallops
¼ c. (60 ml) coarsely ground dukkah (recipe follows)
12 large sea scallops, side-muscle removed
2 tbsp. (30 ml) extra- virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

To make the puree, first cut the parsnips in half lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. Put them in a 4-quart (4-L) saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the parsnips are easy to mash with the back of a fork. Drain and transfer to a blender with the apple juice. Blend until smooth, adding a little water if the mixture is thick. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Swirl in the cream and season with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and cover.

To prepare the mushrooms, in a 10- to 12-inch (25- to 30-cm) skillet, melt 1 tablespoon (15 ml) each of the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté briefly until soft and just starting to brown. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the thyme and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes more or until the mushrooms are dark brown around the edges (lower the heat if the mushrooms are browning too quickly). Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the plate with the leeks, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250ºF (130ºC). Meanwhile, rewarm the parsnip puree over low heat, stirring occasionally.

To prepare the scallops, spread the dukkah on a plate. Lightly brush the scallops with olive oil and sprinkle with just a pinch of salt then press the scallops into the dukkah, coating the tops and bottoms. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch (25- to 30-cm) skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scallops, dukkah-side down, taking care not to crowd the pan (do this in two or three batches). Cook the scallops for about 3 to 4 minutes without moving then use tongs to flip them over. They should release easily once a crust has formed. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.

Remove the scallops from the pan, spread them on a baking sheet and place them in the warm oven. Add the leeks and mushrooms to the skillet, and warm briefly over medium-low heat.

Place ¼ (60 ml) to ½ (125 ml) cup parsnip puree on each plate. Remove the scallops from the oven and place 3 each on top of the puree with one-quarter of the leeks and mushrooms. Season with sea salt to taste and sprinkle with the thyme. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Tip When buying scallops, be sure to ask for dry-packed scallops without any additives. If they are wet-packed, they have an additive called sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), which is not our preferred type.


This Egyptian spice blend combines toasted spices, hazelnuts and dried herbs with salt and sesame seeds. Traditionally, bread is dipped first in olive oil and then in dukkah for a simple bite packed with taste. Try using dukkah for all manner of crusts and rubs or anywhere a salty and savoury crunch would be nice. A little dukkah sprinkled on salads or as a crust for goat cheese or tuna is a simple way to enhance their inherent flavours.

¼ c. (60 ml) chopped hazelnuts
2 tbsp. (30 ml) white sesame seeds
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cumin seed
1½ tbsp. (22.5 ml) coriander seed
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) black peppercorns
2 tsp. (10 ml) dried marjoram
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme leaves
1 to 2 tsp. (5 to 10 ml) flake salt or kosher salt

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts and sesame seeds until golden; transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

In the same pan, toast the cumin, coriander and peppercorns until fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.

Pulse the cumin mixture in an electric mill to a medium-fine grind then combine them with the hazelnuts. Mix in the marjoram, thyme and salt. Store in an airtight container. Use as is for sprinkling on salads or grind to the desired consistency for crusts and rubs just before use. Makes ½ cup (125 ml).

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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