Monday, 19 December 2011

Griddled Scallops with crispy bacon, Pea & Mint Purée and a Balsamic Reduction

Jaysus, I didn't last long on the 'no carbs' did I? Well in fairness, who was I kidding on the run up to Christmas, when there's sauces to taste and chocolates to scoff? I did, in fairness, lose about 4 pounds, so that's me and my Christmas dinner sorted. I'll start again in January. I promise. 

Anyway, this year, like every year, I don't get to cook Christmas day dinner, because that's my mam's gig and to give her her due, she has it perfected, down to the stuffing 4 ways, veg 7 ways, potatoes 3 ways topped with the marrowfat peas, which, after years of gagging at the smell of them every Dec 25th, I now know I quite simply couldn't do without them as part of the festive trimmings.

So, as mam takes the reigns for the mains, I'm left to create the starter. This might seem easy, but the key is to leave room for mams everest of food, so a taste sensation is a must; but without spoiling the appetite. Pictured in this recipe is a big starter, but I would say this year I'll do maybe two scallops max per person. Judge yourself depending on your diners. 
Restauranty food-I think so. A damn good restaurant! 

Griddled Scallops with crispy bacon, Pea & Mint Purée and a Balsamic Reduction
Serves 4

8 large fresh scallops, trimmed (you can get frozen, but fresh is best)
Ahhh Push it...push it real good

8 rindless streaky rashers

For the Pea Purée
500g Frozen peas 

2 tablespoons of cooking liquid

2 tablespoons of creme fraiche

Handful of fresh mint

juice of half a big lemon or one small lemon

1 heaped tablespoon of grated Parmesan

First, prepare the pea purée. This can be made in advance and reheated when plating up. 
1. Cook the peas until tender. I threw in a bit of chicken stock but it's not necessary.

2. Drain the peas, reserving a couple of tablespoons of cooking liquid, add the mint and creme fraiche.

3. BLITZ in food processor, or using a hand blender, or if you are really equipless, mash it with a fork.

4. Push through a sieve, using a metal spoon to manipulate the smooth purée until all you are left with in the sieve is a dry pea pulp, about a heaped tablespoon. This is worth what may seem a fiddly procedure. Stir in the lemon, Parmesan and season with a good bitta salt and pepper

5. Warm through before serving

Balsamic Reduction is stingy on
the eyes but Mwah on the plate
Balsamic reduction
10 tablespoons of Balsamic. Put into a pan and heat for a few minutes until the vinegar has turned syrupy. Not only does it look cheffy on the plate, it adds a nice twist to the dish.

Meanwhile, grill the bacon. You surely know how to do that. If not, YouTube it.
Fry up the Roe in a bitta butter for a 'chefs treat'
Cooking the scallops.
1. Heat the griddlepan until almost smoking. 

2. brush the scallops in a little olive oil and a tiny bit of seasoning.

3. Add the scallops to the pan and after a couple of seconds lift of the pan using a tongs and put back in the same spot. This helps them not to stick, I think. (you could just do them on a regular pan with a splash of olive oil, I just like the griddled affect)

4. Cook for 1-2 mins each side, repeating step three after you turn over.

5. Serve immediately, which the balsamic reduction (it sounds posh, ok? so keep giving the dish it's full proper title) a little dollop of pea purée, warmed bacon slice, topped with your lovely seared or griddled scallop.

Viola. Purées, blitzing, reductions, griddling.....You're on the Michelin Road. 

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