Diners at Hugo’s know they can expect fresh, delicious seafood, but Russell Kook, Executive Chef, also likes surprising them with unexpected flavor combinations.
“Our clientele is always open to new, exciting directions when it comes to our dishes,” he says, describing one such dish: Seared Scallops with Beet Vinaigrette and Cauliflower Purée. “This has been positively perceived as something a little outside the norm. The true flavor of the dish comes down to a perfectly cooked scallop,” says Kook. “We get a pan blazing hot, and season it with clarified butter. The raw scallop is simply seasoned with kosher salt and then placed in the hot pan to cook for three minutes on one side. It is then flipped and ‘kisses’ the pan for about 20 seconds, just enough to cook it through.”
He plates the scallops atop cauliflower purée that’s been fortified with heavy cream and mascarpone, and finishes the dish with a drizzle of beet vinaigrette. “This dish is unique because both the beets and cauliflower are heartier vegetables that leave you with that stick-to-your-ribs feeling. The acid from the vinaigrette cuts through the richness to bring the flavor back to a balance.”