Maple Carrot Bisque with Seared Scallops, Candied Bacon and Spiced Pecans

Maple Carrot Bisque

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 lbs. pounds organic carrots, peeled and diced very small
1 small onion, chopped
10 sage leaves  
5 sprigs fresh thyme
Sea salt                            
White pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 to 5 cups organic low sodium chicken or vegetable stock or more if needed
1 cup half n’ half
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or as needed
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Heat a large heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Once hot, melt butter. Add carrots and onions and saute for approximately 6 minutes or until carrots begin to soften. While vegetables saute, chiffonade sage and chop thyme. Add fresh herbs to carrots and stir. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. 

2. Pour stock or broth into the pot and bring soup to a gentle simmer. Lower heat and continue to simmer gently for approximately 30 minutes (while you prepare remaining ingredients for the dish.) 

3. Blend soup (if necessary in batches) until very smooth with no clumps. Return blended soup to the pot. 

4. Pour half and half in a medium sized bowl. To temper the half and half and prevent it from curdling, add one ladle full of soup at a time to the half and half until the temperature increases to the approximate temperature of the soup. Pour the half and half and soup mixture into the pot of soup and stir.

5. Add pure maple syrup, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and nutmeg. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper.

Candied Bacon

5 slices thick cut, all natural uncured apple wood smoked bacon chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
About 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add bacon and fresh thyme sprigs and render until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon. Reserve bacon fat for later (to sear the scallops.) 

2. Return the cooked bacon to the pan and pour in maple syrup. Stir bacon to coat and cook for one to two minutes or until maple syrup is evaporated. Pour bacon on a plate to cool and harden. Remove sprigs only of fresh thyme (any thyme leaves in the bacon can remain.)

Seared Scallops
1 ½ lbs. fresh (not previously frozen) large sea scallops, brought to room temperature
Reserved bacon fat from the candied bacon
Sea salt
White pepper

1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add about 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat to the pan and let the bacon fat get hot.

2. Using a paper towel, gently pat the scallops dry to remove all excess moisture. Season both sides with sea salt and a touch of white pepper. Show Notes: Have the scallops patted dry to remove all moisture ahead of time but talk about that tip on the show.

3. Once the bacon fat is hot, gently add the scallops (one at a time) to the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. You should hear a nice sizzle (if not, wait a moment until the bacon fat is hot enough.) Let the scallops sear for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side (depending on the size of the scallops), making sure not to only flip them one time. The goal is to leave the scallops undisturbed and allow them to properly sear to create a sweet golden crust on each side. Gently remove the scallops from the pan and set aside.

*You’ll need 4 shallow, restaurant style bowls
1. Pour two ladles of Maple Carrot Bisque in each bowl. Gently place 4 to 5 seared scallops on top of the bisque, in the center of the bowl. Arrange spiced pecans and candied bacon around the scallops.

2. Garnish with micro greens. Enjoy!