Some friends (you know who you are…) asked us around for dinner last weekend. They had just spent a bomb on putting in a new kitchen with loads of gadgets and wanted to show it off. The friends are regulars attending other people’s dinner parties, but have never really had people round for proper grown up type dinners. They asked me if I could suggest a recipe or two. This quickly turned into me preparing and cooking most of the food and very nearly shopping for it(!). Fortunately enough, they are old friends and can get away with a bit of cheek. Anyway, they forgot to buy rocket for my earlier recipe on scallops with chorizo and with the other guests arrived and hungry, I had to quickly improvise a new recipe. I have to say I think the results were even better than the original recipe and it certainly looked a stunning creation! Note: if you wish to economize, the dish will also work with 12 instead of 18 scallops. 🙂
Serves: 6 as a starter
18 queen or king scallops, as fresh as you can possibly get them with roe removed
Around 450g of whole chorizo
250g of frozen petit pois
2 tsp ground cumin
Bunch fresh coriander
125ml of marsala wine or sherry
Salt and pepper
1. Place peas in a pan of fast boiling salted water and boil for 3 minutes.
2. Drain water and add butter, cumin and 80% of coriander in pan.
3. Using a stick blender, blitz everything until it is a vibrant green purée. Taste and season if necessary.
4. Get your plates ready and lined up and place 3-4 Tbsp of the pea mixture on the centre of each of them.
5. Pick over the scallops and if there is any of the tough muscle that connects them to the shell, chop it out. Give them a grind of pepper and set aside.
6. Cut the chorizo into medium thick slices.
7. Heat the pan over a medium to high heat and have the lemon, Marsala, chorizo and scallops near to you as the dish really does cook in a flash…
8. Place the chorizo slices in the dry pan and cook them until they are nicely browned on each side. They should release plenty of spicy orange oil which you will use to cook the scallops – don’t throw it away.
9. Take the chorizo out of the pan with a slotted spoon or fish slice and put in a bowl.
10. Put the scallops in the hot chorizo oil pan and fry for about 1 minute each side – avoid overcooking! The oil will really spit when the cold scallops hit it, so take care.
11. Take the scallops out and with a few chorizo rounds, place three on top of each pea purée.
12. Keep the pan on the heat and place Marsala wine in with what’s left of the scallop chorizo oil. Mix it around briefly to deglaze the pan and then pour a little of this liquor over each of the scallop & chorizo plates. Give a season of salt and pepper, a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to each plate and serve immediately.
Accompany this with a nice, really cold bottle of new Zealand Pinot Gris or dry riesling.