Pan-Fried Pesto Scallops

Pesto scallops

Despite their eye-watering price tag, if we can get hold of hand-dived scallops rather than the dredged alternative, we feel a lot less guilty.

Whatever you do, though, don't bother with frozen scallops. They have been injected with brine to increase their weight, meaning you’re basically buying salty water.

Well, when we say “buying,” you’re actually only renting the water because, as soon as those scallops hit the pan, they will excrete an ugly milky-white liquid, meaning you’ll effectively be boiling your scallops rather than frying them. A super-dry scallop and ripping-hot oil are the only ways to caramelise them and amplify the natural sweetness of the meat.

Pro tip
When adding your scallops to the pan, arrange them in a clockwise format so that when you come to flip them, you can be confident that each scallop is getting the same amount of cooking.

Ingredients for a starter for two

Scallops x6
Pesto 30g
Pistachios 20g
Unsalted butter 20g
Lemon juice dash
Canola oil as needed

Toast your pistachios in a dry pan until golden-brown. Roughly chop and set aside.

Pat your scallops dry, removing the orange roe if it freaks you out (although we think it's the best bit), and season confidently.

Heat oil in a pan until shimmering, and add your scallops. Sear for 2 minutes, Flip them over and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the butter to the pan and baste the scallops. Cook for another 20 seconds, squeeze a little lemon juice over them, and transfer to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

Spoon a little pesto onto each scallop, and then add the pistachios.

Serving Suggestions
Celeriac, walnut, and apple salad
Soba noodles with a dashi broth
Parma ham and grilled asparagus salad
Black pudding and broad bean puree Artichoke barigoule