Seared Scallops with Pea Puree and Mint Vinaigrette

Scallops on my recent visit to Cornwall were abundant and huge, with big, gleaming corals. These days they are most often sold without their shells, occasionally on the half shell. I don’t mind as I’ve got huge piles of these pleasing and useful shells of various sizes and use them for butter and salt, dips and sundries, often when I have a full table or a party, although I’ve almost forgotten what that is like. You don’t need shells for my quick, lazy scam on Rowley Leigh’s Griddled Scallops with Pea Puree and Mint Vinaigrette, a signature starter during his reign at Kensington Place. In my version, the coral and scallop are separated and quickly seared to be piled over mushy peas in a tin (I did say lazy scam) doctored with fresh mint and a little stock, the whole washed with vinaigrette laced with more mint. It was absolutely lovely, the firm scallops in delicious contrast to the almost pea puree with its minty vinaigrette. I served it as a main course with M&S frites and will do it again. The frites should be ready before you cook the scallops.

Serves 2
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 10 min

8 scallops with corals
1 tbsp vegetable oil
300g tin mushy processed peas
8 mint leaves
100ml chicken stock (from a cube)
2 tbsp vinaigrette

Carefully cut the corals from the white scallop in one piece. Trim away the hard muscle on the white that held it to the shell. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper. Use your hands to smear the scallops and corals with oil. Tip the peas into a pan placed over a medium low heat. Add half the finely chopped mint leaves and half the chicken stock. Use a potato masher or fork to crush the peas, mixing as you mash, adding extra stock if you need it, to end up with a bumpy creamy mix. Season with a little salt. Finely chop the remaining mint leaves and stir into the vinaigrette. Heat a heavy frying pan over a medium heat, when hot, lay out the scallops and corals. Turn after a minute or so, when they’ve formed a golden surface, to cook the other side. Don’t over cook. Serve in the middle of warmed plates; hot pea puree topped with scallops then spoon vinaigrette over and around the scallops. Eat!