Oh my. This is a wonderful, delicious, slightly unusual, and really rather special dinner idea for your family. It would be perfect on a little special occasion, or maybe just as a treat on a Saturday night. Scallops. I always think of them as a starter type thing, don’t you? Consequently I don’t buy them to make family dinners with. But a very nice person got in touch to ask if I wanted some lovely seafood. I said yes – obviously – and dreamed this dish up. Well, with a little inspo from Jamie Oliver (the scallops and mash idea is his, bless him). The creamy mash, the delicately flavoured sauce, the sweet scallops and salty pancetta. It. Is. Heavenly.
Regal Fish are a mail order fish company. When they contacted me, coincidentally that very same day I had been moaning to Adam that there are no fishmongers near to us. Zero. None. It’s honestly the one thing that I miss about city life (18 months ago we moved from Manchester to a small village in the Peak District). We used to have two excellent fishmongers to choose from. Two! Now we have nothing. I could cry.
Well, we don’t have nothing. I’m just exaggerating. We have a few choices: the supermarket (half an hour away and I don’t like supermarket fish counters), online shopping sites like Ocado, or a fish man in a van that comes every Wednesday. He’s quite good, but he only tends to have a limited choice on offer. Mail order fish and seafood wasn’t something I’d considered before, but I definitely will be using them from now on. It couldn’t have been simpler. I asked for what I wanted: scallops and smoked haddock (that’s for tomorrow’s dinner), and they left it in the outhouse when I was out, packed up in ice.
I made a generous portion for 2, and the kids shared it with us. They enjoyed it. Arthur wasn’t mad on the scallops but don’t take that as any sign that yours will be the same; he’s going through a real fussy stage. (My tactic? Completely ignore it – no big deal, ‘just eat the things you like’, whatevs – you get the idea!) Beatrix loved them! She’s a total seafood freak, at the mo’ anyway. For me, it was really one of the nicest meals I have cooked for a long time. This one is going to be repeated, again and again.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
About 6 big scallops, roe on
100g pancetta lardons (or good quality smoked streaky bacon, snipped into lardons)
For the quick microwave parsley sauce:
350ml whole milk
25g plain flour
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped finely
For the mash:
Red skinned potatoes
Salt and pepper
- Put potatoes on to boil in salted water. When done, drain, mash and add warm milk, butter and seasoning.
- Meanwhile… heat a heavy bottom frying pan till really hot. Chuck in lardons. Fry slowly over a low heat (once they have started off on a high heat, reduce the flame) to get lots of colour and so they release their fat. Drain and set aside, keeping the fat in the pan.
- Make your parsley sauce by microwaving the milk, flour, and butter on high for 7 minutes approx. Whisk every minute until it thickens. Season and add parsley. Of course, you can make it using the traditional method if you like but this is way quicker and easier. Set aside till needed.
- Once your mash, sauce and lardons are all ready, then and only then start cooking the scallops – they take 2 minutes this way so do it at the very last minute. Take the roe off. Slice them in two, across, to make two flatter scallops. Leave the roes whole. Heat the pan up again (the one that you cooked the lardons in). Add a knob of butter and when it foams, add the scallops. Press them down a bit. Cook for one minute then flip and cook for 1 minute more. Add a further knob of butter towards the end to spoon, add the pancetta back to the pan and spoon the hot butter all over everything.
- Serve a large dollop of mash, spread out as a base. Put a good few sliced scallops on with a few lardons too. Spoon some butter on. Finally, add a good lick of parsley sauce, serving more in a jug on the side. BLISS!