Pan-fried Scallops with Vanilla and Apple Purée, Herb Salad and Basil Foam

Chef Michael Caines proves you don't have to spend all day slaving over a hot stove to produce elegant starters
By Michael Caines
Pan-fried Scallops with Vanilla and Apple Purée, Herb Salad and Basil Foam
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Effort: hard


For the apple and vanilla purée

  • 40 g butter
  • 300 g Granny Smith apples
  • 20 g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, slit and scraped
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 Cox's apples

For the vinaigrette

  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 75 ml lemon juice or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 sprig thyme

For the basil foam

  • 100 ml double cream
  • 50 ml skimmed milk
  • 20 g fresh basil

For the scallops

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 12 large scallops
  • squeeze lemon juice

For the herb salad

  • handful mixed fresh leafy herbs, including chervil, tarragon, coriander, basil, marjoram and dill
  • chopped chives
  • 200 g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped


1. To make the apple and vanilla purée, melt the butter in a stainless steel saucepan. Add the Granny Smith apples, sugar and vanilla pod and cook, stirring from time to time, until the apples break down to a purée.

2. Remove the vanilla pod then, using a hand-blender, blend the mixture to a smooth purée. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm until required.

3. Make the salad dressing. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt and the white pepper in a bowl and whisk together. Transfer to a squeezy bottle ready for serving.

4. To make the basil foam, heat the cream, milk and basil together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then set aside to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, return to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile, in a non-stick frying pan heat some olive oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and fry until golden brown underneath. Turn the scallops over, reduce the heat and cook for a further 2 minutes until done. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.

6. Decorate each serving plate with a tear of apple and vanilla purée. Toss the diced Cox apple in some of the vinaigrette and, using the metal rings, place three circles of Cox apple in a line down the middle of each plate. Remove the rings and place a scallop on each circle of apple.

7. Reheat the infused milk. Meanwhile, toss the mixed herbs, chopped chives, salad leaves and shallot together and dress with some of the vinaigrette. Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette over and around the scallops.

8. Use a hand-blender to whip the hot infused milk into a foam, then spoon the bubbles over and around the plates. Serve immediately.

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