Tagliolini with Scallops, Caviar, and Preserved Egg Yolk
The Fig Tree Restaurant, Charlotte, NC
"I like this dish because it has some creaminess from the sea scallops and preserved egg yolks and just-enough brine from the caviar. Feel free to save the salt-cured egg yolks and homemade tagliolini for another day if you’re looking to eat this dish sooner. Just grate a hard-boiled egg yolk over store-bought pasta to finish the dish instead." —Greg Zanitsch
Salt-Cured Egg Yolks:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- 4 large eggs
- Lemon juice
- 8 large scallops
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tin University of Georgia Caviar
- Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Make the preserved egg yolks: stir together the sugar and salt in a large bowl. Transfer half of the mixture to a baking dish. Gently place the yolks on top of the salt and sugar mix. Cover the egg yolks with the remaining salt and sugar. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 week. Remove the yolks from the salt and sugar mix and place in a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Let the yolks air dry in the refrigerator for another week. Peel away the salt and sugar from the yolks. Use a microplane to grate the egg yolks into a bowl.
Make the tagliolini: add the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until the dough is formed. You may need to add 1 more egg or more semolina flour depending on whether the dough is too wet or too dry. Mix until the dough is smooth, about 7 minutes. Wrap tightly in plastic and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Make sure the dough is not sticking to the counter, so add more flour as needed. Lightly dust the top of the dough and then fold it in thirds. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into strips that are 1/8-inch thick. Gently separate the noodles with floured fingers and shape into loose piles.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tagliolini and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes, or according to package directions if using store-bought pasta. Shock the pasta in an ice bath to stop its cooking. Remove from the ice bath, add the pasta to a bowl, and toss in the remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Sear the scallops: season the scallops with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the vegetable oil. When the pan is very hot and just beginning to smoke, carefully place the scallops in the pan (note: work in batches if the pan is too small. You don’t want to crowd the scallops otherwise they won’t sear properly). When the edges begin to brown (approximately 1 minute), flip the scallops and sear the other side. Cook for 1 minute, or until the scallops are medium-rare. Remove from pan.
To serve: arrange 2 ounces tagliolini on a plate. Place 1 seared scallop on top of the pasta. Place 1 teaspoon caviar on top of the scallop. Sprinkle with the chopped chives and grated preserved egg yolk (or hard-boiled egg yolk).