Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pan-fried scallops with white bean puree, roasted heritage beetroot and herb oil

The beautiful beetroots caught my eye, jewel like in the vegetable isle, and I simply had to have them.

It's more the kind of thing you'd hear a women utter when it comes to shoes / handbags / clothes (delete as appropriate), but I get just as (and sometimes more) excited by interesting ingredients. Perhaps its a sigh of age. More likely it's my gluttony.

Today was Mathews birthday and I wanted to do something for him I've not done before. Hmmm, am sure in other households when a wife says this on her husbands birthday she means something different...but in my world it means cooking something new and interesting, and the colourful beetroots certainly tick that box.

These flavours and textures work brilliantly together - earthy, sweet, creamy and fragrant, plus the overall dish has a bit of a special feel about it in that it doesn't feel overly familiar, and the combination of ingredients are a little different.

For two:
10 scallops (preferably with roe, I had to get a mix but go for with roe if you can)
1 can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can haricot beans, rinsed and drained
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
A handful each of fresh mint and basil leaves, picked from their stems
Juice of half a juicy lemon
A fresh bunch of small heritage beetroots
A small handful of watercress leaves, picked from their stems
Sea salt and black pepper
Unsalted butter and olive oil for frying

- Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Top and tail the beetroots and rinse them to remove and dirt and place them on to a baking tray, then into the oven for 45 minutes
- Put your herbs, a generous glug of extra virgin and a scrunch of salt into a food processor, give it a squeeze of lemon juice and blitz for a minute until the herbs are as blended as they'll get
- Place the drained beans into a saucepan and cover with just enough water to cover them, put the lid on the pan
- Wash your scallops to clean them of any grit or nasty membrane bits, then set aside to keep them dry
- Put a knob of butter and a little glug of olive oil into a frying pan ready for cooking
- When you're 10 minutes off the beetroot being ready, turn the pan on to get them cooking. Once they are boiling which should take about 5 minutes, cook for a couple of minutes then drain them and pop into a food processor. Add a generous glug of extra virgin, scrunch of salt, grind of pepper and the remaining juice from the lemon, then blitz for a minute or two. Put the bean puree into a bowl and put it in the oven to keep warm
- Turn the oven off, remove the beetroot from the oven and (with your asbestos fingers!) gently rub the skins to peel off the beetroot skins. Then place them in a bowl, give a light drizzle of extra virgin and scrunch of salt and mix together, then half each with a knife. Pop the bowl into the oven just to keep them warm
- Put the frying pan with the butter onto a high heat and once the butter begins to foam place the scallops into the pan. Cook on one side for 1.5 minutes ish, then turn over, cook for a further 30 seconds then turn the heat off
- Leaving the scallops in the cooling pan (the residual pan heat will continue to cook the scallops until they are ready) get ready to plate up
- Take your plates and using a spoon drizzle on the herb oil, followed by the bean puree, then the halved beets, then the scallops dotted amongst them, and finally the watercress leaves on top.
- Eat and enjoy with a glass of something very cold and slightly dry - we had a rioja rose that worked perfectly

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