Pan-fried scallops with butternut squash two ways
- Preparation and cooking time
- More effort
- Serves 2
Serve up a restaurant-style starter at home - much of it can be made ahead so you can relax with a glass of wine on the night
For the puree
For the warm salad
- STEP 1
To make the purée, heat the butter in a small saucepan and add the squash. Sweat it over a very low heat for 5 mins, then pour over the stock. Cover and gently simmer for 10-12 mins until the squash is very soft.
- STEP 2
Take off the heat and add the parmesan. Use a hand blender or food processor to blitz the squash until smooth, then press through a sieve into another saucepan. Season to taste and set aside.
- STEP 3
To make the warm salad, trim the squash into a neat block, then neatly dice the flesh into cubes no larger than 1cm. Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the squash for 10 mins, or until tender and coloured, then tip onto a plate.
- STEP 4
Place the pan back on the heat and gently fry the bacon for 10 mins, or until crisp and brown. Add the onion and cook for 2 mins to soften in the fat, then add the capers and squash, drizzle over the sherry vinegar and toss together for 1 min. Off the heat, stir in the chives and the rest of the oil, then tip everything into a bowl and keep warm.
- STEP 5
Have the scallops to hand as you will need to work fast when cooking them. Clean out the frying pan and place it back on the heat with a drizzle more oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully lay the scallops in the pan one at a time, like points on a clock face, starting at 6 o’clock, so you remember which one went in first.
- STEP 6
Scallops take very little time to cook, so by the time the last one is in the pan, the first will be brown and ready to turn over. Flip all the scallops over and give them about 1 min more, then lift onto kitchen paper on a plate to drain the oil. With the salad and the purée still warm, you are now ready to plate up.
- STEP 7
Spoon half the warm salad down the middle of each plate. Overlap 6 pieces of scallop along the salad. Use a spoon to swipe the purée around the outside of the food. Drizzle everything with a touch more oil, and you are now ready to serve.
BUYING THE BEST
The quality and price of scallops is dependent on whether they have been dredged or handdived. The best-quality scallops are hand-dived, where each one is plucked from the seabed. This is labour-intensive so these are considerably more expensive. You can buy prepared scallops or ask for them to be prepared for you by your fishmonger.