Scallops are often seen as a more ‘upmarket’ food and rightly so in my opinion. If cooked correctly, they are succulent and fresh. Over the years, their popularity has grown and they have been paired with different ingredients. Last weekend, I embarked on my first private dining experience and I wanted to give the customers a menu that would reflect my taste in food and dishes where I could experiment with flavours and using new techniques I haven’t done before.
For one of the starters I chose to do seared scallops with a shallot puree and black pudding. The more traditional pairing with scallops is cauliflower puree and black pudding but I find that cauliflower puree often ends up being bland, despite how many spices you add to it. Shallots are quite sweet and really complemented the scallops so they were still the hero of the dish. My mum had bought me a hand blender so it was the first perfect excuse to use it! The puree was really easy to do and went down a treat with the guests!
Prep time – 10 minutes. Cooking time – 30 minutes.
- 3 scallops per person.
- 5 cubes of black pudding per person.
- 200g shallots finely diced.
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed.
- 2 bay leaves.
- Zest of one lemon. Juice of half of it.
- Salt and pepper to season.
- 25g butter.
- Melt the knob of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots and garlic to it. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
- The shallots would have softened considerably by now so add the bay leaves, lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for 10 more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves from the pan. Take the shallots off the heat. Using a hand blender, make the shallots into a puree. Strain the puree through a sieve to ensure it is completely smooth.
- Return the puree to a saucepan and add the lemon juice and keep warm until it is time to serve.
- In the meantime, heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and add the scallops to the pan. You don’t want the heat to be up too high as they will burn, you want to have a nice, golden colour on the scallops. Cook for around 3 minutes on each side. When you turn the scallops over, add the black pudding to the pan. As they are only small cubes, they will cook quickly and still be soft to eat.
- When you plate up, add the puree to the plate first and spread across the plate with a palette knife, place the scallops on top of the puree and place the black pudding around the scallops.