Seared scallops with Parmesan crust and squash purée
- June 2007
- Serves 4 as a starter
- Hands-on time 1 hour 15 min, oven time 35 min
Cook yourself into a MasterChef final with this luxurious dish of seared scallops – it takes time but you won’t regret a minute of it.
- 44.7g (21.4g saturated)
- 22.3g (11.4g sugars)
- ½ tsp fine salt
- ½ tsp mild curry powder
- 10 large fresh or frozen and thawed scallops with roe, plus 2 chopped scallops for the sauce
- 1 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
- 20g unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 40g freshly grated Parmesan
For the squash purée
- 1 small butternut squash, deseeded and roughly chopped
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked, plus extra sprigs to garnish
- 100g unsalted butter
For the scallop sauce
- 75ml peanut oil
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 200ml fresh fish stock (from fishmongers)
- 200ml fresh home-made veal stock or chicken stock
- Make the squash purée. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Take a large piece of foil, then pile the squash, chilli, thyme and half the butter on top. Season, wrap up tightly and bake in the hot oven for 35 min until tender. Transfer to a food processor or blender and whizz briefly to a rough purée. Add the remaining butter, season well and whizz again until just smooth. Set aside in a small saucepan, ready to reheat for serving.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp of the peanut oil in a large, deep frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the 2 chopped scallops and cook for 2 min, stirring, until golden. Lift out and set aside. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 min, until softened. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, return the fried scallops to the pan and cook for 1 min. Add both stocks, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 min, until reduced by half. Strain into a clean saucepan, discarding the solids. Check the seasoning and stir in the remaining oil – it will look oily and separated. Keep hot over a low heat.
- Just before serving, reheat the squash purée over a low heat, until hot.
- Preheat the grill to high. Mix together the salt and curry powder. Remove the orange roe from each scallop, then cut each scallop in half widthways. Season the roes and scallops with the curry salt and black pepper. Heat the clarified butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the roes and fry for 1 min, until hot. Set aside, covered, to keep hot. In batches, add the scallops to the pan and cook for 30 sec each side, until golden. Transfer to a baking tray. Crush the peanuts and Parmesan using a mortar and pestle, then sprinkle over 1 side of each scallop. Grill for 2 min, until golden.
- Spoon the squash purée into the centre of 4 warmed starter plates. Lay 5 scallops on top of each, in an overlapping circle, then top with the roes. Spoon the scallop sauce over and around and garnish with extra fresh thyme sprigs to serve.
Use 10 diver-caught fresh scallops in shells when they’re in season (September to March). Shell the scallops and use the frilly ‘skirts’ that surround each one to make the sauce. Wash and chop them and use instead of the 2 extra chopped scallops.
Pick up on the soft, slightly sweet flavours with a creamy but fresh white. Try a Pinot Blanc from Alsace.
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