When in Seattle, what else should I try if not a dish that combines all the amazing fresh vegetables and seafood indigenous of the Pacific Northwest all in one plate? Seared Scallops with Pea Puree sounded like a perfect dish to remake with Paul Shewchuk, Executive Chef of the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle from 2016. And, as he promised, it will be a recipe that everybody can try at home, because it’s pretty much free from allergens as it’s dairy free, gluten free and paleo.
“Here at the Fairmont – he tells me –, 70% of our menu is naturally gluten free and we have been cutting back on our dairy a lot too, as we prefer to use olive oil, which is fresher and much easier to use.”
Chef Paul explains to me that recently they have been going in the direction of lightening things up and moving towards ‘simplicity’, and that automatically brought them in the direction of removing gluten. “Take these Scallops with Pea Puree for example: we substituted the starches in this recipe with a fresh pea puree, we added pickled turnips, marinated mushrooms and some rooftop garnishes, and the recipe is pretty much done!!”
“Wait, you have a rooftop vegetable garden?” I ask all thrilled.
5 minutes later, our elevator’s doors opens on the 15th floor of the Fairmont’s historic building, that was built in downtown Seattle in 1924.
13 wood planters overflowing with vegetables, herbs and edible flowers of all kinds. And right across from them, there’s a full on urban bee farm, with hives teeming with bees that produce delicious fresh honey for the guests of the hotel, who get to enjoy their golden nectar when it’s still warm, unfiltered and unadulterated.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
We pick some fresh dill flowers, violets and baby chard leaves and head back to the kitchen, where Chef Paul fills me in on how he fell in love with cooking.
“Basically, I started cooking because I decided that engineering wasn’t gonna be a good thing for me – he jokes. While I was studying, I used to work in a restaurant, and there I understood that probably I’d be better at creating dishes rather that bridges.”
After realizing what his true passion was, Paul Shewchuk went to culinary school in Toronto and worked for some Relais and Chateux properties in the area before moving to Vancouver to work in an Italian restaurant and then join the local Fairmont in 2010 as a Sous Chef.
I ask Chef Paul what is the one tip that he would give to the home cook to improve their cooking skills today, and he doesn’t need to think twice about the answer.
“Keep it simple. Buy the best products you can find and do the least amount of work to them. Treat each ingredient the way it needs to be treated: a quick sauté, a crack of salt and pepper… and, if you let it speak for itself, 9 times out of 10 times that’s the best thing you can do”.
“When you buy something that it’s not of quality – Chef Paul continues –, you have to add things to mask or amplify the flavors. But if you have fresh scallops and some peas that you cook in a couple different ways while keeping it simple, the dish will shine, just like these Scallops with Pea Puree”.
Lessening the amount of items that are involved in a recipe and letting each ingredient speak for itself is Chef Paul’s secret for cooking philosophy, that is definitely reflected in the dish we created for you, whose idea was inspired by what’s currently in season.
We went to the market this morning and the scallops were amazing – he tells me. Also, peas are in seasons, so we grabbed some of that. And I combined that with some of the vegetables on our rooftop garden in a really nice and light way”.
And, as the official taste tester, I can assure you that the combination of scallops with pea puree is absolutely killer, as it’s light and delicate while looking sophisticated and gourmet at the same time.
Also, to make the dish even more delicious, Chef Paul shared with me his recipe to make honey pickled vegetables, so that if you want, you can add some pickled mushrooms and turnips to the dish, just like you see in the photos. And if you don’t have time for that, don’t worry. There’s plenty of flavor in there regardless!
Now, are you ready to cook this dish yourself? Follow the step by step instructions below and don’t let the presentation intimidate you. It’s a lot easier than you think ;)
I hope you loved the recipe for these Pacific Northwest Scallops with Pea Puree and if you did, make sure to share it on your Facebook and Pinterest and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you can get in touch with me directly!!
Lots of love!
Born and raised in Italy, Ambra is a healthy recipe developer, food and travel writer with a passion for healthy living and wellness. She is the founder of 'Little Bites of Beauty" and the author of the cookbooks "Healthy Italian Desserts Made Simple" and "The AIP Italian Cookbook". She shares her daily food & travel adventures on her Instagram @LittleBitesofBeauty