Sea Scallops with Brown Butter Potato Cream

By JONATHON HARTIG for the Flathead Beacon

This recipe was adapted from Restaurant Martin, a fantastic place located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What most appeals to me about their menu are the colors, the fresh ingredients and the visual designs. As a chef, I am lucky to have the opportunity to apply both creative and technical ability in my profession, and restaurants like Restaurant Martin inspire me to look at and appreciate food for its beauty and simplicity. You can make this dish at home using common equipment and ingredients found in almost every grocery store. With a little bit of pre-planning, you can absolutely impress your family, friends and guests, but especially your taste buds!

For the mushrooms:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 king trumpet mushrooms, halved or quartered lengthwise
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and pepper


Add the oil to a medium skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown and tender. Stir in the shallots and cook for an additional minute. Turn off the heat, add the butter and thyme sprigs and baste the mushrooms with the melting butter. Transfer the mushrooms to a paper towel to drain and season with salt and pepper.

For the potatoes:

  • 4 oz. butter, unsalted
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the butter over medium heat in a small pan. When the butter foams, swirl it around the pan. Once the butter starts to turn brown, remove from the heat and transfer into a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and add the shallots, cook for 3 minutes to soften. Add the potatoes, milk and stock and cook, just below a simmer for 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Transfer the potatoes and liquid to a blender and puree. Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

For the scallops:

  • 12 medium scallops, U15 or U10
  • 1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
  • Large sprig of thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides and place into the hot pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook the scallops – about 2 to 3 minutes on each side to achieve a golden brown color. Turn off the heat and add the butter and thyme, then baste the scallops with the melting butter. Transfer the scallops to a paper towel to drain.

For the plate:

  • Fresh microgreens, edible flowers or sprouts for garnish

Jonathon Hartig is the executive sous chef/instructional assistant at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit