A Chocolate Lovers Valentine’s Day

David Bull, executive chef of Austin’s Congress and James Beard Foundation nominee, knows a thing or two about harnessing the flavor of the inimitable cocoa bean. Join him as he shares his techniques for incorporating its unique taste in everyday dishes at his Savory Chocolate cooking demo on Saturday, April 28th – a can’t miss class for you chocolate lovers out there. In the meantime, treat yourself and that special someone to Chef Bull’s favorite Valentine’s Day Recipe for a taste of what to expect! From Chef Bull himself, I chose this dish because it has familiar, comfortable flavors but has sparks of uniqueness – kind of like a relationship. This dish combines the delicate flavor of the scallops with the light and herbal notes of the jicama and mint. The sweetness of the coconut is balanced by the subtle bitterness of the cocoa nibs. Overall the components create a smooth, savory and slightly sweet dish. It is a special occasion dish, because it does take a little time to make all the components, but your efforts will be appreciated.

Seared Sea Scallop | Jicama Salad | Coconut Cream | Cocoa Nib | Chocolate Mint

4 servings

  • 4 each Seared Sea Scallops (recipe to follow)
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Cream (recipe to follow)
  • 1 Cup Jicama Mint Salad (recipe to follow)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Nib Crumble
  • Maldon Sea Salt To Taste
  • Chocolate Mint Leaves For Garnish
1. Slice the Scallops into 3 even pieces from top to bottom to form square shaped slices. 2. Lay the scallop slices in a straight line leaving 1-inch gaps in between each piece. 3. Place small dollops of the coconut cream in between each scallop and place the Jicama Mint Salad directly on top of the coconut cream. 4. Sprinkle the cocoa nib crumble in a straight line over the scallops. 5. Season the scallops with Maldon sea salt to taste and garnish each slice with a small leaf of chocolate mint.

For The Seared Sea Scallops:
  • 1 Ounces Canola Oil
  • 4 Eeach U-10 Dry Packed Sea Scallops
  • Sea Salt To Taste
1. In a large sauté pan over high heat add the canola oil. 2. Season scallops on all sides with sea salt. 3. Allow the oil to begin to smoke and sear each scallop on each side for 2-3 minutes creating a dark brown crust on the top and bottom of each scallop. 4. Remove scallops from the pan and allow the scallops to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For The Lime Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt To Taste
1. Whisk together the lime juice and olive oil until well combined. 2. Season with salt to taste. Note recipe makes more than needed for assembly.

For The Jicama Mint Salad:
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Shredded Coconut, Toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint, Julienned
  • 4 Cups Jicama, Julienned
  • 1/4 Cups Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe)
1. Mix the toasted coconut with the jicama and mint. 2. Toss with the lime vinaigrette and season with salt to taste.

For The Coconut Cream:
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Coco Lopez Coconut Milk
1. In a large mixing bowl combine the heavy cream and coconut milk. 2. Whisk thoroughly until soft peaks are formed.

For The Cocoa Nib Crumble:
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/8 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs
  • 1/8-1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch (Optional)
1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and butter into a small sauce pot over medium heat. 2. Bring the liquid to a light boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until it reaches a light caramel color. Remove from heat. 3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and coco nibs. 4. Add the cocoa nib mixture to the caramel and return to the heat and cook until a rich amber color is reached. 5. While still hot pour onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat and spread out as thinly as possible. Place another silpat on top of the mixture and using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out to a thin even thickness. 6. Allow to completely cool at room temperature. 7. Once completely cooled, break into even pieces and place into a food processor. Add a small amount of tapioca starch and pulse until coarse sand consistency is reached. Add more tapioca starch as needed to reach proper consistency. Reserve the crumble in an airtight container until ready for assembly.