Scallops with fennel and peas

Tom Lewis makes this attractive starter when fennel and peas are at their best in the garden, using the pretty pea shoots as a garnish
Scallops with fennel and peas
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4 as a starter
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 8-12 hand-dived scallops, opened and cleaned
  • 4 heads baby fennel, or 1 large bulb, quartered
  • good knob of butter
  • 1 large handfuls fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 slices Parma ham, crisped in the oven

For the whisky and orange butter sauce

  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp Glengoyne 10 year old whiskey
  • 125 g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • butter, for frying
  • fresh pea shoots, or mustard and cress to garnish

Method

1. Blanch the fennel for 2-3 minutes then drain and pat dry.

2. Season the scallops. Melt a good knob of butter in a frying pan, and when it has stopped foaming add the scallops. Sear on for 2 minutes on the first side, then turn over and sear for 1 minute. Transfer to a warm plate, and keep the pan.

3. For the whisky and orange butter sauce: put the chopped shallot, orange zest and juice and whisky in a small pan and reduce to a tablespoon.

4. Now quickly whisk in all the butter off the heat until liquid but still creamy, then pass through a strainer and keep warm in a warm water bath (don't let it get too hot or it will split).

5. Reheat the scallop pan, add a knob of butter and colour the fennel for a couple of minutes. Add the peas and cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat.

6. Arrange a piece of fennel on each warm plate, top with a pile of scallops then spoon the peas around the base. Taste the butter sauce, adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a drop of whisky and drizzle around the plate. Finish with a piece of Parma ham and a few pea shoots. Serve with a crisp side salad, or warm potatoes in the winter.

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