Scallops are something I'm quite scared of cooking. Cooked well they are delicious but a second too long and they are chewy and tough. I've made a vow to confront a few of the ingredients I tend to avoid cooking- seafood is one of these! Seafood is one of the only things I'm quite picky about - to the astonishment of most of my friends, I hate sushi- I think it's just something about the texture of raw fish! However, I absolutely love most other types of fish including scallops.
It's a well known fact that scallops and black pudding or pork are a match made in heaven, and so for this dish I've paired beautifully soft scallops with spicy paprika chorizo. Served on a bed of mixed sea vegetables and rocket with caramelised pear, it's a really impressive starter or light supper.
The sea vegetables I've used are samphire, sea aster and okahijiki, available in packs from Waitrose. I've had samphire in many a fish dish before and I love its slightly crunchy, really sea salty taste but I'd never tried sea aster or okahijiki.The whole dish is very easy to prepare and incredibly quick to cook so perfect to knock up for dinner- the most important element is how you cook the scallops but I have some handy tips below!!
Ingredients: (to serve 2)
Handful of samphire, sea aster and okahijiki
6 scallops (roe and muscle removed)
Salt and pepper
White wine vinegar
Wash and prepare your scallops. I bought mine already removed from their shells but if you have bought scallops in their shells, here is a good video on how to remove them!
Make sure you remove the muscle and orange roe from the scallop with a sharp knife.
Season the scallops and leave to one side for a moment.
Wash your vegetables and then put a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add a generous knob of butter, let it sizzle a bit and then throw in your veg. Trust me, this will smell amazing- a mix of fresh sea air and rich creamy butter!
Pan fry the veg for 2-3 minutes until tender and then transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Next, remove the outside skin from the chorizo and chop the chorizo sausage into small pieces (you need about 5 pound coin sized pieces for each person.) Then fry the chorizo in the hot pan you used for the veg- you don't need to add any extra oil here as the chorizo will naturally release its own oils as it cooks.
Fry for 3-5 minutes until the chorizo is golden and crisp, then remove from the pan.
Next, fry your scallops. You may need to add a little groundnut oil at this stage to the hot pan. Then fry each scallop for one minute on one side, and then flip them over and fry for another 30-40 seconds, before finishing with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. (Try to place them in the pan in order so you know which one you put in first and therefore which ones need turning first!)
Remove the scallops from the pan.
Wash the pears and then slice thinly lengthways. Add to the pan and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden, sticky and caramelised. Then add 1tbsp white wine vinegar.
Serve the scallops on top of the sea vegetables, a handful of fresh rocket leaves and the caramelised pear. Top with the chorizo and another squeeze of fresh lemon and voila!