To make the dressing, tip the hazelnuts into a frying
pan, toast until golden, then transfer to the small bowl
of a food processor. Whizz for 5-10 mins until they make
a smooth paste – the nuts will start to release some of
their oil and the paste should look like smooth peanut
butter. Add the vinegar, maple syrup, season and blend
to combine. With the motor running, pour in 150ml
water and continue blending until smooth. Can be kept
in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Cut the apple into really fine matchsticks using a mandolin
or sharp knife. Toss in a little of the lemon juice as you go to
prevent the apple from turning brown.
Put the hazelnuts in a shallow dish. Heat the butter in a frying
pan until foaming and nut brown. Add the scallops and cook
for 1 min on each side, or to your liking, seasoning as they
cook. Remove from the pan and roll each scallop in hazelnuts.
If cooking for larger numbers, cook the scallops in batches so
that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
To serve, spoon a dollop of the hazelnut dressing in the
centre of each plate; use the back of the spoon to spread out
the dressing slightly. Toss the watercress in the remaining
lemon juice and oil, season and place a pile in the centre of
each dressing dollop. Arrange the scallops around the
watercress and place piles of apple between each scallop.
Drizzle with a little oil and serve immediately.