Chicken scallops with mashed cauliflower


By Paul Suplee

So there’s a lot going on here. As I prepare to fly to Las Vegas for a competition (a career milestone should I prove successful), I keep going through my notes. With only two weeks left to prepare, I suddenly realize it’s time to move.

I wake up nervous almost every day and honestly I can’t wait for this chapter to end. The preparation for this project has been tremendous and only time will tell what will happen.

Since my team and I just took over Food & Beverage service at the OC Marlin Club, I’ve got enough on my plate, but the gods don’t care about timing. It’s time to do or die.

The competition is for the National Chef Educator of the Year award from the ACF (American Culinary Federation).

The prep work includes a multi-tab lesson plan and many practice rounds. After completing about 60 percent of the plan and trying to get the club up and running at my restaurant level, my head is swimming. But God hates a coward, so I’m walking away.

The class I wanted to emulate is American Regional Cuisine, one of my favorite classes. The region is nothing more than “Foods of the Chesapeake”. It only seems natural. The lesson discusses different foods and cultures beyond the shores of our beautiful ocean.

Of course, I had to opt for chicken, the ubiquitous protein represented by the local countryside dotted with chicken houses.

When choosing a second protein, I went back and forth between oysters and scallops, the former being a bay shellfish and the latter being an ocean shellfish. I chose scallops to represent the ocean, which plays a crucial role in our ecosystem as it meets the Chesapeake.

All in all I am very happy with the dish. There are many components, and I know I’ll annoy some readers with yet another over-detailed recipe. But that’s okay.

It’s a great dish and there are lots of little nuances and techniques you might learn as you go through it. And at the end of the day, isn’t it about constant learning?

Fried Airline Chicken Breast

serves 2

1 piece 2-3# whole chicken

3 c. Brine (recipe follows)

spice mix

Clarified butter, as needed

  • Make the chicken by removing the wishbone and then the breasts. Stay cool as you make the following preparations.
  • Reserve the bird’s other meat for other uses. The carcass is used to make a rich broth, which is then reduced for the demi (see below).
  • Place the breasts in a bowl and cover with the brine. Refrigerate for three hours.
  • Remove from the brine and pat dry, set aside until ready to serve (chilled).
  • Season the breasts and heat the oil until just ready to smoke. Sear the breast and either turn down the heat to finish in the pan or place in the oven to finish.

Cauliflower puree

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

½ head of cauliflower, stem removed

1 1/2 c. chicken broth

1 1/2 c. whipped cream

Trimmix as needed

  • Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the broth and cream.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or until completely tender.
  • Run an immersion blender through the pan or blend in a Vitamix until smooth.
  • Season and warn until service.

Greens on the east bank

2 serves

3 c. Fresh vegetables (kale, cabbage or chard)

Clarified butter, as needed

2 TBSP. Good quality white wine

6 confit garlic cloves

Salt & Pepper, as needed

  • Mix everything except the garlic and bring to high heat.
  • Cook quickly and once the veggies are cooked but not olive green, remove from the heat and add the garlic cloves.
  • Season and keep warm until serving.


serves 2

4 pieces Large U10 scallops cleaned of lateral muscles

Salt & pepper, to taste

Oil for frying in the pan

  • Pat scallops dry and keep cool while you prepare other dishes.
  • Heat a pan and oil the pan.
  • Sear the scallops until nicely golden brown before turning.
  • Once you flip them, remove them from the heat and let the pan finish the job.

Lemon Beurre Blanc

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1/2 c. Dry white wine

1/4 c. cream (40% is ideal)

1/2c. Cold butter, cut into cubes

juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper, as needed

  • Reduce the wine by half and add the cream.
  • Reduce this until it turns thick and yellow.
  • Remove from the heat and add the butter pieces one at a time until incorporated.
  • Once all the butter is incorporated, add the lemon juice and taste.

Garlic confit

makes about 1 pt.

2 c. Fresh garlic cloves

olive oil for covering

  • Cover the cloves with the oil and leave on low heat for hours until soft. Don’t let it fry as that defeats the purpose.
  • When soft, remove and cool. You now have garlic oil and tender, sweet cloves to use throughout the menu.

— Paul Suplee is the owner of
boxcar40, freight car on main line,
Boxcar Crafted Events and
Sport Fish Catering.


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