Scallops are delicious, but can be tricky to cook. Here is a great guide to get perfect scallops every time.

Serves Four

 

Ingredients

  • 70g pancetta cubes
  • 360g frozen peas
  • 130ml water
  • 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 12 scallops
  • 12 slices of black pudding

 

Parma ham crisp

  • Heat the oven to 190°C
  • Grease two identical baking sheets; one on the inside, the other on the underside
  • Place one inside the other so the ham slices are sandwiched between the greased surfaces
  • Bake in the top of the oven for 9 minutes
  • Remove the upper baking sheet and leave to cool

 

NOTE – The ham will be limp straight from the oven, but will crisp up as it cools

 

Pea and Pancetta Puree

  • Fry the pancetta in a very hot pan (without oil – the fat on the pancetta will be enough)
  • Cook until the cubes are very golden and producing an amazing aroma
  • Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil
  • Once boiling add the peas and stir until they are covered as much as possible
  • Cook for one minute, remove from the heat and tip immediately into a blender
  • Blend until thick and smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Keep warm or reheat (on a low heat, taking care not to boil) for service

 

NOTE – A handheld will do, but a free-standing blender will produce a smoother and more even puree. Sieving the puree is not recommended since too much flavour would be lost

 

Black Pudding

  • There are a number of ways to cook black pudding, but I would recommend the oven (190°C)
  • This will give the pudding colour without it becoming dry and crumbly (and falling off the fork!)

 

NOTE – Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the slices, but a 1cm slice should take no more than 10 minutes (if in doubt cook until they are loudly sizzling and glistening on top)

 

Scallops

  • Whilst the black pudding is in the oven, pour a ‘film’ of olive oil into a pan and bring to high heat (until the oil is almost smoking)
  • Season your scallops with salt and white pepper (black will do, but white is more delicate)
  • Place them into the hot oil, presentation side down (usually the larger side)
  • The objective is to caramelise the scallops, giving them a deep golden-brown colour
  • Approximate timing is 3 minutes, but do check and let the colour be your guide
  • Turn over, but do not caramelise the second sides, since this will overcook the scallops
  • Test with fingertips; the scallops should be firm but not rubbery, with a little bit of give
  • Just before you remove them from the heat, a squeeze of lemon juice is recommended
  • This will counteract the effects of the oil, whilst bringing out more of their fantastic flavour

 

NOTE – For extra indulgent luxury, try adding a knob of butter just before turning the scallops

 

Presentation

Do whatever takes your fancy. I would place a dollop of puree towards the edge of the plate, then streak it across with the back of a spoon, and arrange thescallops on and around it, with the black pudding slices underneath. Cutting into the scallop and placing the Parma ham crisp inside the incision is a great way to further delight your guests.

 

Serve on warmed plates and enjoy!


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