Take me to the seas of Zion,
Where pearls pinkly shine on,
And bubbles gently glide on.
And I’ll sear you some Kingly Scallops, fire on,
Served with smoked salmon and Red Velvets, right on,
Fresh oysters and soda bread with butter on.
And Romantic feasts to nourish on,
Shared experiences to build dreams on,
Ah seafood delights, go on and on.
Seafood stirs the taste buds into dizzy celebration. Scallops are my favourite of all seafood. One of my happiest memories was sharing a picnic with seafood delights bought from Rick Steins Fish and Chip shop.
When I close my eyes I can still taste the sea.
I first shared this in my column for Families First, it’s a lovely magazine, with an interesting and varied content. This recipe is a seasonal feast for the senses and a true Scallop celebration, dare I say it, an ideal Valentines supper!
Now is the best time to eat these lovely shellfish. There is a right time for everything in nature, the seasons are so simple, and they cheer me up!
Why eat scallops? Royal and rich in vitamin B12, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper – they are also an excellent source of protein, phosphorus and selenium, making them a very healthy choice of food.
British waters are perfect for scallops and this nation, especially Scotland, produce some of the world’s finest. If possible buy scallops in their shells and cook them simply and quickly. Look for white flesh and a bright orange roe and run a mile from the dear ones lulling in milky waters, they’ve been bled of all flavour, frozen and forgotten, don’t waste your money.
TOP TIP – Rinse before cooking and allow them to dry out on a clean cloth in the fridge for a couple of hours, though not essential, it will make a difference.
Scallops are naturally sweet and the flavour combination of apples and celeriac works beautifully. To cook sweet pan-seared scallops, with deep golden brown crusts and a barely cooked centre, is to welcome a mouth-watering moment of seafood heaven.
Secondly a smoking hot pan will give the golden crust, that is a must. Heat the pan, then after a couple of minutes, reduce the heat and add the oil, use one with a high smoking point – when the oil ripples like a gentle tide the pan is ready!!
Caramelised apples add a fragrant freshness and celeriac with its wonderful flavour of parsley and celery ties the whole dish together, a few sprigs of mint bring a subtlety that befits such a splendorous shellfish.
May your day be sweet and gentle. if you pass these beauties, ponder and possibly buy a few. This is one of my favourite recipes and for those who love black pudding – wow – a few slices would bring a whole new dimension to this dish.
Seared Scallops with Apple and Celeriac mash
Celeriac 1, peeled and cubed
Potatoes, King Edwards (or other suited to mash) 2
Apples, 2 peeled, sliced and cored
Butter, 1 knob
Fruit sugar, 1 tsp
Crème fraiche, ½ tbsp
Rapeseed oil, 1 tbsp
Ground cumin, ½ tsp
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic glaze, a drizzle
Mint leaves (optional)
FOR THE MASH
BOIL celeriac and potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water for 15 minutes.
MELT knob of butter in a medium sized frying pan.
ADD apples and fruit sugar.
COOK for 5 minutes to caramelise, stirring occasionally.
DRAIN celeriac and potatoes, return to the saucepan and mix in apples.
SPOON over crème fraiche and mash well until silky smooth.
FOR THE SCALLOPS
SPRINKLE ground cumin over washed scallops.
HEAT a non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat, when hot
DRIZZLE over some rapeseed oil, enough to cover the pan.
CAREFULLY place scallops in the pan and sear for one minute on either side. *Scallops need very little cooking, and will be rubbery if over cooked, truly, less is more when cooking these delights!
SERVE scallops immediately on top of mash and scatter with leaves if using.
DRIZZLE over some balsamic glaze to finish off.