For someone who is generally adverse to all things that come out of the sea (Daniel Craigs Bond aside) I’ve surprised myself by liking some of the least attractive creatures. Fish I don’t like, but octopus and scallops? Hello! Scallops are especially good because they are so easy and quick to cook (note: quick is the operative word here)
This recipe is my go to starter for a dinner party because it’s so easy – you can make the puree and the crumb in advance if you want to. It tastes and looks great too, people will be impressed by your skills. Even though you don’t actually need any. Although I use a food processor, it is actually possible to buy ready ‘crumbed’ chorizo to replace that section.
So – here’s what you need for two.
- One pack diced chorizo (I use this one)
- Panko bread crumbs
- Two parsnips
- single cream & milk (enough to cover the parsnips once diced)
- 6 cleaned scallops (fishmongers have the nicest ones I’ve found)
Firstly peel and dice your parsnips and set them in a pan to simmer away on the hob – you only really need enough milk and cream to cover them. Don’t let it boil though, and don’t worry about any scuzz that appears on top, just spoon it off. You can top up the mix if it looks like it’s evaporating too much. It should only take about 15 minutes before the parsnips are tender and a knife slips through easily.
Drain the parsnips into a sieve and then use a spatula (plastic ones work best) to push the parsnip through into a clean saucepan. It should be super smooth and silky, and it will taste amazing. Some recipes ask for garlic and bay and thyme to be added to the simmering mix, but I think this is beautiful all on its own with salt and pepper. This can be warmed through once you are getting ready to serve the rest.
The reason I don’t buy the pre-crumbed chorizo for this is because I don’t think you get enough lovely oil from it at this next stage. Gently fry the chorizo until it starts to crisp (try not to let it burn though – keep an eye on it!) once it’s crispy, chuck it in the food processor and give it a whizz. Then mix through some breadcrumbs and taste – go with your gut as to how much you add, it’s all about what you like. Once that’s crunchy and delicious it can also be kept for later.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat the puree and dollop, smear and splodge on the plate as is your whim. Get the crumb to hand and half the lemon.
I keep the oil from the chorizo in the pan and use it to cook the scallops. You don’t have to if you think it might over power the delicate taste of the scallops, but I think they are delicious like this. Get the oil nice and hot (any remaining bits of chorizo should be sizzling) and get your timer set for one minute. Set it going after you put the first one in, and remember which one it is. Squeeze over half the lemon. Cook them for one minute on that first side then flip in the same order, setting the timer again as you flip the first one and then take them out starting with the first one as the time is up.
Place three scallops on each plate and squeeze the remaining lemon half over before adding a little pile of crumb where ever whimsy takes you and voila! Deliciously impressive.
This pic is from a time I made this but didn’t crumb the chorizo – wasn’t as tasty but you get my drift?!
If you like would you put a pin in it?