Scallops with pancetta and lentils

Theo Randalls elegant Italian-inspired starter is a wonderful combination of flavours and textures
By Theo Randall
Scallops with pancetta and lentils
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 100 g pancetta, finely chopped into matchsticks
  • 12 cleaned scallops
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 lemons

For the braised chard

  • 1 kg swiss chard, leaves removed from stems
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinches chillies, flakes

For the lentils

  • 100 g lentils, de Castelluccio
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • sprigs sage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


1. For the braised chard: bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the Swiss chard for about 3 minutes until the leaves are tender. Drain well.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the garlic with the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Add the chard and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. For the lentils: bring a large pan of unsalted water to the boil, add the lentils, garlic and sage and cook until the lentils are tender.

4. Drain off the water and discard the garlic and sage. Season with salt and pepper and add a good dash of olive oil.

5. Toss the scallops in a bowl with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.

6. Fry the pancetta until crispy then set to one side.

7. Place each scallop carefully into the pancetta pan and cook for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.

8. Return the pancetta to the pan with the chilli, parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

9. To serve, put a spoonful of lentils and braised chard into each of four scallop shells, then divide the scallops and pancetta between the shells. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and place on the side.

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