- Serves: 4
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Effort: hard
- 24 scallops, (preferably diver-caught), cleaned and coral removed
- 12 asparagus
- olive oil, for frying
- a knob of unsalted butter
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- mixed salad leaves, to serve
For the Champagne sauce:
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
- 8 tbsp champagne
- 4 tbsp whipping cream
- 75g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- tsp avruga caviar, (optional)
Tips and Suggestions
For a really impressive garnish, turn scallop corals into a bright orange powder by drying them in a very slow oven (say 120°C/gas ½) for 3-4 days, then pulverise them in a small capacity food processor or spice grinder, and pass through a fine mesh sieve. If you have some to hand when making this recipe, sprinkle a little of the roe powder over the finished dish. Or make the powder with the coral removed from the scallops used here, for use in a seafood dish or chowder (store in a tightly sealed glass jar, in the fridge).
If you prefer, the asparagus can be chargrilled instead of steaming - brush with a little olive oil and grill or griddle at maximum heat for 3-4 minutes until just cooked through but still somewhat crunchy.
1. Place the shallots and Champagne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce the liquid by at least half. Add the cream and reduce again by half. Remove from the heat and briskly whisk in the butter, a cube at a time. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl, then return to a clean saucepan and set aside.
2. Bring salted water to the boil in a wide saucepan and cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain well.
3. Place a wide frying pan over high heat and add enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Season the scallops, arrange them in a single layer in the pan and add the knob of butter. Caramelise the scallops rapidly over high heat until golden - around 30 seconds each side. Place the cooked scallops on a layer of kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little lemon juice.
4. Warm the sauce gently, stirring constantly (to preserve the consistency and prevent it splitting, do not let it get very hot, and on no account allow it to boil). Add the caviar, if using, before seasoning, as it is quite salty. Season the sauce to taste.
5. Arrange salad leaves in the centre of serving plates, place scallops on top, arrange asparagus spears (3 per plate) in a triangle shape around the salad and scallops, and drizzle the warm sauce over the assembly.
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