Big thanks to the anonymous foodie who left a pickled chestnut in the Market Garden for me to try. Then I spied scallops in Steve Hatt’s window and from that came this. I added a little of the chestnut, chopped very finely, to the breadcrumb mix. If you don’t have a mysterious chestnut donor in your neighbourhood, the recipe will be equally lovely without it.
Ingredients for 4 people:
(I never trim the roe – the orange bit – off scallops because I’m lucky enough to shop somewhere where I know they are really fresh and the roe will taste good. However, if there’s any chance that your scallops have been out of the sea for more than a couple of days, the roe can taste a bit strong so you might want to trim it off).
Marinate the scallops in the juice of 1 lemon for about an hour before cooking, turning them over occasionally.
150g breadcrumbs mixed with 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, 3 whole cloves smashed to dust in a pestle and mortar, 1/2 a finely chopped pickled chestnut, a pinch of salt and a shake of black pepper. Spread this mix out on a big plate.
1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil.
1 small red chilli chopped very finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
1 tbsp soy sauce.
What to do, roughly speaking:
Take the scallops out of the lemon juice, dry them slightly by placing them on kitchen paper, and then coat them in the breadcrumb, chilli flake, cloves, chestnut, salt and pepper mix.
Heat the mixed olive and sesame oil in a large frying pan until it begins to smoke, turn the heat down a little and add the garlic and chilli. Fry for a couple of minutes. The heat is still high, but not so high as to start a fire. Obviously.
Gently place the breadcrumbed scallops in the frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Carefully turn them over, add the soy sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. A lot of the breadcrumb mix will fall off but don’t worry about that, just scoop it onto the top of the scallops as you serve them.
For the veg I used:
A handful of tender stem broccoli washed and trimmed
2 handfuls of sugarsnap peas washed and trimmed
2 handfuls of green beans washed and trimmed
2 sweet red peppers sliced
a splash of olive oil
1 small red chilli, about 1in/2.5cm of ginger root cut into thin strips, 2 garlic cloves, crushed.
Place all the veg in a deep frying pan with about 3 cm of water in the bottom and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 4 or 5 minutes. Drain and leave the veg to one side. Return the pan to the heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chilli, garlic and ginger. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes. Tip the veg back into the pan and mix it all around so that it’s coated with your garlic/ginger/chilli mix. Add a little salt or soy sauce to taste.
Serve with rice…
…or rice wine…
Serving it with green tea is OK, I suppose.