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What’s your favorite pastime? Mine would most likely be apple picking in late October with the New England fall foliage in the background. Recently my family and I went to Honey Pot Hill in Stow, MA to go apple picking. With the erratic weather in the spring throughout the country, farmers were looking at a loss of crops. Plus, consumers were ready to face higher prices for mediocre quality so I thought it would be best to go earlier this season. Somehow, most of New England dodged a bullet while the rest of the country suffered. There was an abundance of choices and all were delicious.

You know you pick more than you need after you make your cobblers and pies and still have an excess. Having the whole, “waste equals high food cost,” theory embedded in my head day-in and day-out, I couldn't just let the rest of these apples rot. So I decided to share one of my favorite autumn recipes with you. With some amazing diver scallops from the shores of Massachusetts, some peppery local arugula, flavorful smoked bacon and, thanks to Sarah’s review of Rhody Coyote Hard Cider, here is a collaboration of all my favorite things fall.

Rhody Coyote Cider Diver Scallops

For The Scallops:

5 each Diver Scallops
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Oil

For The Sauce:

2 strips Applewood Smoked Bacon
1 Cortland Apple, Peeled, Cored and Medium Dice
2 Tbsp Shallot Minced
1 Cup Hard Cider
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tbsp Thyme
¼ Cup Heavy Cream

For the Parsnip Puree:

4 Medium Sized Parsnips Peeled and Cut to Medium Dice
1 Cortland Apple Peeled, Cored and Cut to Medium Dice
2 Tbsp Onion Small Dice
20 oz Vegetable Stock
4 Sprigs Thyme
3 Bay Leaves
½ Cup Apple Cider

Cider Vinaigrette:

1 Tbsp Shallot
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Vinegar
2 Tbsp Apple Cider
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper

Arugula Salad:

3 Tbsp Pomegranate Seeds
Reserved Bacon
Reserved Apple
1 Bunch Baby Arugula
Salt and Pepper

Parsnip Puree:

Heat oil in pan and then add onion, apple and parsnip.  Saute for about 5 minutes or until the parsnips and apples start to color.  Add remaining items and simmer for about 30 minutes or until parsnips are soft.  Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Keep hot until ready for plating.

Cider Sauce:

Add diced bacon to a hot pan and cook until all the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crisp.  Drain out bacon fat into a bowl and let bacon dry on a paper towel.  Add 1 tbsp of bacon fat and then add apple.  Saute until tender and then let dry on a paper towel.  Saute Shallot until translucent, add hard cider and reduce by half.  Add vegetable stock thyme sprigs and heavy cream and reduce until you can dip a spoon in the sauce and it leaves a thin coating on the back of the spoon.  Strain through a china cap and keep hot until plating.

Cider Vinaigrette:

Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.


Add butter and oil to a cast iron pan.  While waiting till your pan is nice and hot dry off your scallops with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add scallops to the pan and cook on one side for 3-4 minutes.  Once there is a nice sear and caramelization flip and then cook on the other side for another 3 minutes.

To Plate:

Add parsnip puree to the center of the dish.  Position scallops around the outter edge of the puree.  Ladle the sauce around the scallops.  Add a small amount of vinaigrette to the salad ingredients and mix.  Place the salad in the middle of the scallops.  Garnish the plate with remaining bacon, apples and pomegranate.