Scallop with Chorizo

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

Ingredients

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

75g butter

125ml of marsala wine or sherry

Salt and pepper

Method

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.

Homemade Dairy Free Chicken Pate

How do you get a child to up her iron intake?  You can try talking the benefits of eating red meat and green leafy vegetables to a 2 year old, but playing with Peppa Pig and hide and seek can prove a distraction to my lecture.

Having taken my daughter to see her paediatrician recently, I was posed the challenge to get her to eat more iron rich food.  All the common sources were either not on her list of favourite foods or her allergies meant the food was off limits.  Eventually, we got to pate, but the doctor quickly remembered that it contained dairy when bought from the supermarket.

I had made some pate before and remembered the vast quantities of butter that were key to getting the flavour and texture right, but thought that I would try and re-create without the evil butter.

I took inspiration from stories told to me by my grandmother of having to cook during the war when all her usual ingredients were either unavailable or in short supply.  Tales of ‘apricot’ jam made with carrots and almond flavour came to mind and hard, cheap margarine instead of butter.

I struggled to find hard margarine in the supermarket, it was right in the bottom of the cold section looking slightly embarrassed next to healthy, low fat spreads and dairy, spreadable soft butter-like things.  It was surprisingly cheap and behaved for all intents and pruposes exactly like butter in this recipe – I’d use it again!

The finished pate was gorgeously smooth, deliciously savoury and went well with oatcakes or gluten free toast.  Make sure you have extra available as everybody always seems to want a little more to spread…

Serves: makes a small loaf tin half full

Ingredients

250g of duck or chicken livers (frozen are fine)

250g block of hard margarine (don’t even bother if it is soft, spreadable in a plastic tub)

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic (lazy garlic pickled in vinegar works very well)

A few fresh herbs (bay leaves, thyme or sage)

Salt and pepper

Method

1)Drain livers in a sieve above a bowl for 5 minutes to remove excess blood.  Pat livers dry and remove any ‘nasty’ bits with a small sharp knife.

2)Melt around 30g of margarine in a pan on a medium to low heat and soften the shallots in this for around 7 or 8 minutes. Do not let the shallots brown.

3)Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes.

4) In a small frying pan, add 30g of margarine and get really hot.

5)Add the livers to the pan and fry for around 1 minute each side – the livers should still be just pink in the middle.

6)Melt the remaining margarine in a seperate pan (yes, I know you need 3 pans here…).

7)Add the shallot/garlic/margarine mixture and the livers to a food processor and blitz the mixture fast until it is a puree.

8)With the processor running on a slow to medium speed add the melted margarine in a steady trickle so that it combines with the liver/shallot puree.

9)When the puree looks glossy, stop adding and taste.  Add salt and pepper to get the flavour right.  there should be some melted margarine left – you will need it to add at the end.

10)Line a small loaf tin with cling-film and pour in the pate mixture.  Make sure the mixture is level in the tin.

11)Place your fresh herbs over the top of the pate and pour on a layer of melted margarine over the pate and herbs.

12)Put in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

13) Turn out pate onto a plate, remove film and slice the pate. Serve with warm toast, brioche or crackers and some fresh tomatoes and cucimber for a light lunch or starter.

***quick note – thanks to #3chooks for the feedback, I listened!