Recipe Improv: Chef Jehangir Mehta on the Hot Seat


This week we’re playing recipe improv with Jehangir Mehta, who was a pastry chef at Jean Georges, Union Pacific, Virot, Compass, Aix, and Sapa before striking out on his own with Graffiti Food and Wine Bar. At Graffiti, Mehta concocts both savory and sweet dishes, often mixing flavors in unexpected ways.

The improv ingredients: Cauliflower, vanilla and scallops

The result:

Vanilla Balsamic Scallops with Garlic Cauliflower
Yield: 2 servings

4 large scallops
1 tablespoon aged Balsamic vinegar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cauliflower florets
9 cloves garlic, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

In a bowl, combine the scallops with balsamic vinegar, vanilla bean, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Remove scallops from marinade, and discard marinade. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and blanch cauliflower for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Add the garlic, and fry until light brown. Add the cauliflower and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender, and tomatoes are soft. Serve the scallops on a bed of the cauliflower.