This was originally going to be Indian: a chick pea curry, a salmon vindaloo, rice, and greens. But there was no salmon. Scallops, yes. So I brazenly grabbed dinner’s wheel and yanked it hard to the left. The chick peas had already soaked, so to them, I added half an onion, herbes de Provence, and, reminded by a little bird, a quart of our strained cherry tomato purée from the summer- a gorgeous, velvety mix of all the different colors we grew. While this was simmering, I seasoned the scallops with smoked salt and togarashi, and seared them up in a pat of browned butter. Deglazed with fresh blood orange juice, soy sauce, and agave syrup, the butter made for a perfectly textured sauce that united the scallops and the leftover celery root-parsnip-broccoli stalk purée from a few nights ago into a dish of seamless pleasure.
I finished the soup with truffle oil and black pepper; the sweetness and depth of flavors (dried chick peas are a hundred times better than canned) was really incredible. For a beverage, I reached for a 2001 Guigal white Hermitage to go with both these dishes; it was OK with the scallops, taking a back seat to the intense flavors, but with this crazy good soup it was stunning. The hazelnuts and fruit in the wine played with the sweet tomatoes, while the wine’s stony architecture was a perfect frame for the earthy chick peas. Amazing what a brief warm spell can do for the imagination (and by warm, I mean 40˚; we’re getting rain instead of sleet or snow.)