By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
Well, so far most people think that I am completely insane. Single father, full-time professor, columnist, owner of a restaurant and now I want to open a new one?
The answer is yes. I am flattered and humbled at the reaction that I have received upon announcing the opening of my newest venture, Boxcar on main, in Berlin in December. I feel like a complete psychopath doing this, but fortune favors the bold, yet it pities no one.
At the end of the day, I will be able to proclaim that I did everything in my power to overcome the crushing financial blow of the pandemic. But more to the point, let’s just get through this damn thing in one piece, shall we? I wish good health on all.
Some interesting things have happened as a result of the virus. We’re focusing on things that are actually important. So many more “problems” from before seem like nothing now in the grand scheme of things. I guess we are learning how to smell the roses, even if we are going 150 miles per hour.
The move has reinvigorated the crew at my flagship Boxcar40, and we are slowly but surely starting to recover from the debacle that has already claimed so many businesses. Like many places, I am out a great deal of money, but in times of trouble, you need to build, rebuild, fortify and grow. My father taught me as a child that time stands still for no man.
Back at the original restaurant, my chef, Josh, has been coming up with some amazing specials, and as soon as we clicked over from 103-degree days to pumpkin spice and turtleneck sweater days, he came to me expressing his desire to get into some squash. Of course, I said yes.
This is an amazing fall-inspired dish that celebrates our area, with mushrooms from the upper Eastern Shore, dry scallops and ubiquitous squash. It’s about as prevalent as pumpkin spice latte. It’s nice to see this kind of dish coming from my younger chef and I’m looking forward to a winter of warming foods and good times.
Seared Scallops, Butternut Puree
20 Dry sea scallops
Clarified butter, as needed
1 c. chorizo chips (recipe follows)
4 c. Butternut Puree (recipe follows)
4 c. Sauteed wild mushrooms (recipe follows)
1 c. Bacon jam (recipe follows)
2 c. Garlic kale (recipe follows)
- Pat scallops dry and set aside.
- Heat the clarified butter in a good, heavy duty sauté pan until it is just below smoking.
- Season scallops on both sides and carefully place them in the butter.
- Sear for about 3 minutes, or until you have a nice amber-brown sear.
- Using a fish spatula, turn the scallop and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from heat so that you do not overcook the scallop.
- Place puree in the center of the plate, surrounding it with little piles of bacon jam (a small pile for each one).
- Place a scallop on each little mound of jam, and top with chorizo chips.
- Place the mushrooms in this little circle of flavor, and top it all off with some garlic kale.
makes about 1 cup
1 6-inch piece of dried chorizo
- Shave the chorizo as thin as possible.
- Spread evenly on a pan and place in a 250F oven until the chorizo is nice and “chippy.”
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight container until needed.
Butternut Squash Puree
makes about 1 quart-ish
1 Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 c. Chicken stock
1/2 c. Cream
3 oz. Whole butter
S&P to taste
- Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan that has a lid.
- Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is tender.
- Use a stick blender, food mill or food processor to puree the goo until it is nice and smooth.
- Season and keep hot until ready to use.
Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
makes 1 quart
2# Fresh assorted wild mushrooms
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
1 med. Shallot, fine julienne
Clarified butter, as needed
1/2 c. Chicken stock
S&P to taste
- Add the mushrooms to heated butter in a hot frypan, stirring.
- Eventually your agitation mixed with heat will break down the mushrooms and they will release their water.
- Add the garlic and shallots and cook thoroughly.
- Add the chicken stock and leave it be, stirring only occasionally enough to let everyone get to know each other.
- Season and keep hot until service.
Makes about a cup
6 strips bacon, cut into little bits
1/2 med. White onion, fine julienne
3 tsp. White vinegar
3 tsp. Brown sugar
- Place bacon and onion in a pan and set the heat to medium. This part can be kind of frustrating if you are like me, in that it takes patience.
- Pay attention to your family, and completely forget about your bacon jam, of course assuming that your stove setting is on medium or preferably low.
- Once onion and bacon have an uber-roasted feel to them, pull off the heat and drain.
- Add the vinegar and sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. You can make it a little loose at this point, as it will thicken as it cools.
— Paul Suplee is a Professor of Culinary Arts
at Wor-Wic Community College
and owner of boxcar40.
Visit him at www.boxcar40.com.