Scallops and Bacon with Pea Puree

This was a huge success when I made it, creamy, plump scallops with their sweet tenderness against very crisp scraps of salty back bacon eaten with a bright green pea puree with a hint of mint. Oven frites – M&S in a green box, ready in 11 minutes is still the favourite – are the perfect accompaniment. Oh yes, don’t forget a glass or two of your favourite chilled white wine. I’ve been tardy to post the recipe because I thought it didn’t need one but one of my fans gave me such a talking to, I decided I’d better write one. He tells me that one of the best and best value sources of scallops is Iceland. I haven’t put him to the test yet but fresh are pricey but do shell out for king scallops rather than queenies.

Serves 2

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 15 min

200g frozen petits pois

about 12 mint leaves or 1 tsp mint puree from a jar

2 tbsp creme fraiche

1/2 lemon

4 or 5 rashers of back bacon

vegetable oil

10 king scallops with coral

few sprigs flat leaf parsley

If including frites in the meal, work out the timing sos they are almost done by the time you start on the pea puree and scallops. Begin the actual cooking by making the pea puree. It reheats perfectly but will keep warm in the food processor while you cook bacon and scallops. Boil the peas in salted water until tender. Drain, reserving 2 tbsp cooking water. Tip peas, water, mint or mint puree and creme fraiche into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz smooth; you want it thick and fluffy so don’t be tempted to add too much water to begin with, you can always add more water or cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you think it needs it. Keep covered so it remains hot (or reheat when required). Cut the bacon into bite size pieces and fry in a spacious frying pan in 1 tbsp vegetable oil with any trimmed fat or rind. Cook until nicely crisp, adjusting the heat, removing any fat or rind before you add the scallops. The scallops can be prepared while the bacon cooks. Cut off the small tough edge that attaches scallop to shell, rinse away sand etc and pat dry with kitchen paper. I didn’t bother to remove scallop from coral. When the bacon is done, move it to the side of the pan and add the scallops. Season with salt and pepper and let them firm up – which happens very quickly – then turn with a fish slice. Cook for a couple more minutes until the scallops are bouncy and just cooked through, stir back the bacon and transfer to plates or a serving bowl. Add chopped flat leaf parsley and the pea puree and frites in separate bowls.