Scallops with Sunchoke Pancetta Hash

grew wild on a friend's land down in North Carolina when I was growing
up, which meant crumpled brown bags filled with the gnarly little root
vegetables, dirt clinging in every crevice, often showed up at our door.

If you don't have a friend delivering them to your doorstep, you can
find them at local farmers markets and occasionally the grocery store.

I like them nicely browned with pancetta and corn for a flavorful
base for seared sea scallops. When browned, the sunchokes, also known as
Jerusalem artichokes, develop an earthy sweetness that really
complements the scallop and corn. The hash would make a great side dish
on its own as well.

Seared Scallops with Sunchoke, Corn and Pancetta Hash

makes 4 servings

12 sea scallops

4 slices of thick pancetta

4 ears of corn (when in season), shucked and kernels sliced off into a bowl OR 1 bag of frozen sweet corn

¾ pound sunchokes, scrubbed clean and cut into ¼ cubes

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

chopped parsley

pancetta into small chunks and cook over medium heat in a large sauté
pan. Drain pancetta on paper towels once it has browned, reserving 1-2
tablespoons of rendered grease in the pan.

Add 1 tablespoon of
butter and sunchokes to the pan with the pancetta fat and toss to coat.
Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until sunchokes begin
to brown and become tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Add corn to the
sauté pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Stir with sunchokes and cook for 3
minutes. Return pancetta to the pan, and remove from heat.

in another sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Pat
scallops dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add to the hot pan
and allow to cook on one side, without moving, for 2-3 minutes. The
scallops should release easily if they are properly browned. Turn and
cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Scoop a serving of the sunchoke hash onto each plate and top with 3 scallops. Sprinkle with parsley.

3 more ways to use sunchokes:

• Slice 'em very thin and deep fry them in peanut oil for chips. Sprinkle with a little Old Bay or seasoning of your choice.

• Cut into small sticks and add them raw to a fall salad with sliced pears, fennel and blue cheese.

• Make cream of sunchoke soup, from Maryland's Next Step Produce (a great sunchoke source at the Dupont FreshFarm Market).