Seared Scallops with Fresh-Picked Chickpea Hummus, Thumbelina Carrots, and Mint and Carrot Green Pesto

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This week’s find at the market was a little box of FRESH chickpeas — not dried, or canned, but freshly picked! They come in these adorable little pods, two in each, and when eaten raw, taste of fresh, summer peas with just a bit of starch. A nuisance to prep; they have to be plucked from their pods, one by one, but there was something satisfying about popping the pods open and picking out the beans and dropping them into my little prep bowl. It turned out like a cross between a standard chickpea hummus and the freshest green pea puree you’ve ever had — delish! I developed this dish for one of my pescatarian clients, so I threw in some lightly seared sea scallops and roasted thumbelina carrots with a pesto made from carrot greens, spinach, and a bit of mint — quite a lovely little meal.

Further Food Nutritionist Commentary:

Did you know that the leafy carrot tops are not only edible, but nutrient dense? In addition to what's found in the orange root portion​​, their tops provide a secondary boost of vitamins A and C, fiber​, phytochemicals​ and potassium, and are packed with manganese, B vitamins, magnesium and chlorophyll, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties​.

This elegant meal marries meaty scallops and the carrot's two forms--roasted roots plus an intensely flavored spinach, pine nut and carrot top pesto--with a creamy hummus of fresh green chickpeas for a complex harmony of flavors and textures. It's beautiful to look at, good to eat, and a power punch of health benefits!
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​Note:​ ​There's some debate about whether or not the leafy carrot tops are safe to eat. At this time there is no definitive research to suggest they are unsafe or toxic. They do, however, contain alkaloids and nitrates​, ​which some people may be sensitive to. Remember to always purchase your produce from a reputable supplier, and wash thoroughly before use.

By Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN

Seared Scallops with Fresh-Picked Chickpea Hummus, Thumbelina Carrots, and Mint and Carrot Green Pesto

  • Prep Time:40 minutes
  • Cook Time:30 minutes
  • Servings: 3

Ingredients

For hummus:
1 pound fresh chickpeas (shells removed)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)
fresh ground black pepper

For pesto:
1/2 cup carrot greens (stems removed)
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 a lemon (juiced)
1/2 cup olive oil

For carrots:
1 bunch Thumbelina carrots (cleaned and trimmed with greens reserved)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground coriander
pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt (to taste)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

For scallops:
1/2 pound fresh sea scallops (patted dry)
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)

Instructions

For the hummus:

  1. Bring a saucepan full of salted water (or veggie broth) to a boil.
  2. Add the chickpeas and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Do not over cook.
  3. Strain, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the liquid, and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Once cooled, squeeze the pointed tip of the bean between your thumb and index finger and the bean should pop right out of its skin.
  5.  Add to a food processor, reserving a few for garnish, and process with the reserved cooking liquid, garlic, olive oil, tahini, salt, lemon, and pepper until very smooth. Set aside.

For the pesto:
1. In a food processor, process the carrot greens, spinach, mint leaves, garlic, and pine nuts until coarsely chopped.
2. Add the lemon juice, salt, and slowly pour in the olive oil while the processor is running until finely chopped and well combined.
3. Place in a bowl and drizzle the top with olive oil. Cover and set aside.

For the carrots:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
2. Slice the carrots in half (length-wise), and place into a mixing bowl.
3. Add the olive oil, coriander, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.
4. Place on a baking sheet and roast about 15 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.

For the scallops:

1. While the carrots are roasting, sprinkle the scallops with salt on both sides.
2. Heat the olive oil (or butter, if you wish) in a large pan over medium-high heat.

3. Add the scallops and sear about one minute until lightly crisp and browned. Flip and repeat on the other side, being sure not to overcook the scallop (the middle should still jiggle as you remove it from the heat).

4. Place a generous dollop of hummus on a plate and arrange the scallops over top.

5. Add the carrots, and drizzle with the pesto, the reserved cooked chickpeas, and parsley to garnish.
6. Sprinkle with a large-flake sea salt, like Maldon, and serve immediately.

For the hummus: Bring a saucepan full of salted water (or veggie broth) to a boil. Add the chickpeas and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Do not over cook. Strain, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the liquid, and set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, squeeze the pointed tip of the bean between your thumb and index finger and the bean should pop right out of its skin.  Add to a food processor, reserving a few for garnish, and process with the reserved cooking liquid, garlic, olive oil, tahini, salt, lemon, and pepper until very smooth. Set aside. For the pesto: 1. In a food processor, process the carrot greens, spinach, mint leaves, garlic, and pine nuts until coarsely chopped. 2. Add the lemon juice, salt, and slowly pour in the olive oil while the processor is running until finely chopped and well combined. 3. Place in a bowl and drizzle the top with olive oil. Cover and set aside. For the carrots: 1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. 2. Slice the carrots in half (length-wise), and place into a mixing bowl. 3. Add the olive oil, coriander, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. 4. Place on a baking sheet and roast about 15 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. For the scallops: 1. While the carrots are roasting, sprinkle the scallops with salt on both sides. 2. Heat the olive oil (or butter, if you wish) in a large pan over medium-high heat. 3. Add the scallops and sear about one minute until lightly crisp and browned. Flip and repeat on the other side, being sure not to overcook the scallop (the middle should still jiggle as you remove it from the heat). 4. Place a generous dollop of hummus on a plate and arrange the scallops over top. 5. Add the carrots, and drizzle with the pesto, the reserved cooked chickpeas, and parsley to garnish. 6. Sprinkle with a large-flake sea salt, like Maldon, and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving:  Calories: 516; Total Fat: 39g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 25g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 9mg; Sodium: 855mg; Potassium: 573mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 13g

Nutrition Bonus:   Vit A: 158%; Iron: 20%; Vit C: 18%

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