Friday, June 13, 2008

Scallops in pea season

With scallops and fresh peas available at the market, this is an excellent combination. It is fast and easy, as long as you can find the ingredients very fresh. Frozen peas would work as well, and you could omit the bacon, but this is definitely the best version I have tried.
Scallops can be quite expensive, around $14-20 per pound for good ones. However, especially as an appetizer, you only need about 3-4 per person, more for small scallops. When buying, make sure there is no milky residue pooling around the scallops in the display. You want never-frozen scallops that have not been soaked in a preservative liquid. Just ask the fishmonger.

Scallops with fresh peas and bacon

Scallops, 1/3 lb per person (freshness is essential here)
Fresh peas, about 1 lb per person
Bacon, 1/4 lb
Spring onion (1), finely chopped

1. Shell the peas, and boil them until tender (about 3 minutes). Drain, then toss with 1/4 tablespoon butter in a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, chop the bacon into small pieces and cook in a pan over medium heat. Just when it is barely cooked and the fat slightly translucent, add the bacon to the peas. Add pan fat to taste. Stir in the minced spring onion. Cover to keep warm.
3. Pat dry the scallops and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. In a pan wide enough to accommodate all the scallops without crowding (or in a smaller pan in two batches), melt a generous amount of butter and add several tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan is very hot, sear the scallops quickly, about 1 minute per side or less. If working in batches, cover the first batch while working on the second; scallops cool quickly.
4. Arrange the scallops atop a bed of peas. Serve immediately.


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