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Seared Sea Scallops with Winter Squash Purée
A drizzle of black truffle oil adds grand finish to this dish.

Ingredients:
Squash
1 large winter squash (butternut or acorn are good)
salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or more to adjust consistency of purée)
Scallops
1 tablespoon butter
8 large sea scallops
8 fresh mushrooms of your choice (morel and chanterelle are good with the scallops), cleaned and halved if large
minced fresh savory or other herbs
black truffle oil

Directions:
1. Squash: Cut squash in half, remove seeds.  Place on baking sheet, cut side up, and brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350°F until tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Let squash cool until it can be handled.  Scoop out flesh and purée in a food mill.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add cream until desired consistency is reached.  Keep warm.
3. Scallops: In a large, heavy non-stick skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until brown but still slightly translucent in the center (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to plate and keep warm.
3. In same pan (add more butter if necessary) quickly sauté mushrooms.
4. To serve: Place small mound of squash purée on each plate and top with 2 scallops and 2 mushrooms.  Drizzle with truffle oil and scatter fresh minced herbs over top.

Quickly seared scallops and mushrooms, roasted squash purée and a drizzle of golden truffle oil create a spectacular starter for festive menus. Serves 4 as a first course