Pan Roasted Scallops with Peas and Bacon
The scallops found in UK waters are always of a high quality, with a mild yet sweet flavour. The very best UK shores to find scallops are, of course, in Scotland! 10,000 tonnes of Scottish scallops were landed in 2010, showing just how high the demand for good quality is. And you’ll find them at their best from October through to March, although they are still very good and available all year round.
Look for plump, firm, moist scallops which have that sweet seawater aroma.
Many suppliers will soak them in brine, as the scallop acts like a sponge and increases in weight. This can affect the flavour and so I would suggest avoiding scallops which are bright white in colour and swollen as these have usually been soaked.
When you buy scallops you will notice two options are available; dredged or hand-dived.
Dredging can cause serious damage to sea life and I would always recommend looking for the hand-dived variety.
The scallops we use at Restaurant Mark Greenaway are actually twice hand dived in the bay of the Isle of Skye. My supplier, David Oakes, has been diving for scallops since 1987 and is, in my opinion, still the best around. David lifts the shells from deeper waters in Loch Sligachan and places them in the shallow waters of Skye to “finish” growing, a process which takes two years.
By lying in the shallow waters, where the plankton is thicker, the scallops can feed and achieve full potential.
This recipe is another great dish to impress your dinner guests while being extremely easy to make.
A quick tip, it’s a good idea to prepare all the other ingredients before cooking your scallops, as they’re very easy to overcook.
Did you know: You can work out the age of a scallop by counting the rings on its shell.
2 or 3 scallops per person depending on their size; 3 slices of smoked pancetta; 100ml double cream; 200g fresh peas; pinch of salt
Remove the scallops from the shell and wash thoroughly removing all of the “skirt” but leaving the roe and actual scallop intact (I recommend getting your fishmonger to do this part for you)
Wash the shell and dry well. Remove the roe from the scallop and wash well, place on a baking sheet and season with a little salt then cook in your oven at its lowest setting overnight to dry it out.
De-pod your peas (leaving one pod intact for presentation).
Fry off your pancetta in a non-stick pan until nice and crisp, then add peas, cream and a little salt.
Pull cream mixture off and keep warm. Blend up your dried roe until it resembles a fine powder.
Dip one side of the scallop into the roe. Heat another non-stick frying pan and place the scallop gently in it roe side down. Cook for 2 minutes.
Turn the scallop over and cook for a further 2 minutes and then season with a little salt.
Pull the scallop pan off the heat and rest for about 2 minutes.
Once the scallops are resting, place your shells under a hot grill or in the oven for a couple of minutes to warm through.
Place your cream mixture in the bottom of the scallop shell and top with the scallops and the peas left in the pod.
Please note in the restaurant we top the scallop with a little crispy pancetta and baby herbs, this is of course optional.