How to Make The Apparatus Room’s Pan Seared Scallops

Try these pan seared scallops from The Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel at home with this recipe.
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Photograph by Rebecca Simonov

Located at Detroit’s Foundation Hotel, in what was once the headquarters of the Detroit Fire Department, The Apparatus Room offers a cozy feel and open kitchen that churns out “tavern fare and hearty entrees” made from Michigan-grown ingredients.

Try their pan seared scallops at home with this handy recipe.

Ingredients

Scallops

  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Fresh-picked herbs, such as basil, mint, fennel, dill, or chives

Annatto Oil

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 4 tablespoons round annatto seed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika

Fermented Corn

  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • Salt

Cantaloupe Curry

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • 2 pieces fresh lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Jimmy Nardello pepper
  • 1 Fresno pepper
  • 2 large shallots
  • 6 fresh Thai lime leaves
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro stems
  • 1/2 bunch Thai basil stems
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon vadouvan curry powder (or regular curry powder)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Directions

Annatto Oil

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium-high heat to just below boiling and hold for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and reserve.

Fermented Corn

(For safe fermentation, using a kitchen scale is highly recommended to get the correct salinity.)

  1. Clean the corn and cut the kernels away from the cob.
  2. In a bowl, take the back side of a knife and scrape the cleaned cob downward to get the corn “milk.” Combine the corn milk with the cleaned kernels.
  3. Weigh the corn mixture in grams. Multiply the total weight by 3 percent to get the amount of salt needed.
  4. Mix the salt into the corn.
  5. Place the mixture in a bag and remove all the air by vacuum sealing.
  6. Keep the bag in a warm, dark place for 3 days. After 3 days, remove the corn from the bag and strain out the excess liquid, reserving for later use.

Cantaloupe Curry

  1. Clean the cantaloupe of all the rind, seeds, and bruised areas. Dice into medium cubes and set aside.
  2. With the back of a knife, bruise the lemongrass and then roughly chop.
  3. Dice the ginger, shallots, and peppers and roughly chop the herb stems.
  4. In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add in the shallots, ginger, peppers, and lemongrass. Saute until aromatic, a few minutes.
  5. Add in the curry paste and curry powder. Sauté to toast over medium heat, then add in the cantaloupe, lime leaves, and chopped herb stems.
  6. Cook over low heat until the melon starts to break down and releases a good amount of liquid. Once the melon has softened, add in the coconut milk.
  7. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  8. After simmering for 45 minutes, remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add in the lime zest, juice, and salt.
  9. Turn the blender on, and while running, sprinkle in the xanthan gum.
  10. Pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve and strain into a bowl sitting in an ice bath to cool the sauce quickly.

Scallops

  1. Mix together the salt and water to create a brine. Add in the scallops and brine for 1 hour. After, remove the scallops from the brine and lay out on a sheet tray lined with a clean towel. Let dry in the refrigerator for 1 hour, uncovered.
  2. Blister cherry tomatoes with a kitchen torch or under the broiler to lightly char the skin.
  3. Heat a pan over high heat. Add in a generous amount of butter and sear the scallops for 2 minutes per side.
  4. To assemble the dish, spread cantaloupe curry on a plate. Place the seared scallops on top and surround each with small piles of the blistered cherry tomatoes and fermented corn. Top with fresh-picked herbs.

The Apparatus Room is located at 250 W. Larned St., Detroit. Call 313-800-5600 or visit detroitfoundationhotel.com for more information. 


This story is from the October 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition. Plus, visit hourdetroit.com for even more recipes including Jon Kung’s Faygo Chicken and Oak & Reel’s Seasonal Crostini.