A delicious starter of pan fried scallops, served with a creamy celeriac puree, the crunch of smoked bacon and the freshness of cucumber and apple. A perfect start to any dinner party.
At this time of year Michelle and I start thinking a lot about food, even more than we usually do! It’s hard to imagine that we can talk more about food, but somehow we do! There are plenty of resources out there to tell you how to cook the perfect Christmas roast and what sides to pair it with. We are taking a different approach with our Christmas posts this year.
Over the next 3 weeks we are going to share our recipes for our special festive menu. Those meals we have over the festive period where we want to spend a bit more time to produce a lovely dinner. Whether it’s an intimate meal for two or a small dinner party with family and friends, the dishes work well together. We begin with our starter this week and follow with the main course and dessert over the following weeks.
First up our delicious starter, a scallop dish that we are serving with a creamy celeriac puree. We are also adding a touch of smoked bacon along with the freshness of apple. Finally topping off with some dill pickled cucumber to add some sharpness to the finished dish.
I am very lucky as I have a friend who dives and generously shares with me hand-dived scallops. Delivered fresh to my door, I shuck them myself, I’m getting quick adept at it! My kids are always fascinated and want to get stuck in and help. I either eat them fresh within a day or freeze them straight away. My last gift of scallops arrived Sunday past and are already frozen ready to make this starter on Christmas Day. Much to the distress of my eldest daughter who would’ve liked them cooked and devoured immediately.
I have been out for dinner and afterwards had a nightcap at my friend’s house. Her husband is very good at pan frying these for us as a rather special late night snack. Cooked simply in butter with a little seasoning they are beautifully sweet and honestly need little else. In fact eating these scallops has spoilt me a little for eating scallops elsewhere, it’s hard to beat the freshness.
pan fried scallops with celeriac, bacon, cucumber, apple & pea
A simple starter of pan friend scallops, simply seasoned and served on a creamy celeriac mash. Alongside crispy shards of bacon, dill pickled cucumber, apple chips and pea.
- 12 scallops
- 50 g unsalted butter
- salt & pepper
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon grilled flat and cut into shards
- 1 apple thinly sliced
- handful of pea shoots
- sprig fresh dill
- 1 whole cucumber
- 150 ml white wine vinegar
- 5 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 sprigs fresh dill
- 1/2 celeriac peel and diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 tbsp double cream
- salt & pepper
- 20 g butter
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 sprigs fresh dill leaves finely chopped
- pinch of caster sugar
- salt & pepper
Pare the cucumber into thin ribbons along the length, using a potato peeler. Place the ribbons in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and cover with ice cold water. Set aside for an hour to draw out excess water. After an hour drain and wash off any residual salt. Place the ribbons on kitchen paper and dry completely.
Meanwhile place the vinegar, sugar and dill into a saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Place the cucumber ribbons in a plastic container with a tight sealing lid. Pour over the pickling liquor and stir to combine. Allow to cool completely, then cover with lid and place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours but ideally 2 days.
Place the diced celeriac in an oven-proof dish, along with the rosemary and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle over the olive oil and pour in the 1/2 glass of water. Cover with tin foil and bake in an oven at 160CFan for around 45 minutes to an hour until the celeriac is soft.
Remove the rosemary, place the remaining ingredients into a liquidiser along with the double cream and blitz to a smooth puree. Pass the puree through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. [At this stage you can allow it to cool and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.]
When ready to serve place the puree into a saucepan and add the butter, heat gently and stir thoroughly.
Place all the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine, check the seasoning and set aside until serving. [The vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days in advance.]
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and melt the butter. Season the scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the frying pan and sear the scallops for 1-2 minutes each side (depending on size and freshness of scallops). Arrange the scallops on top of the warm celeriac puree.
Place the pickled cucumber, crispy bacon, apple slices and pea-shoots on the plate around the scallops. Drizzle over some dill vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
There are a number of elements to the dish however the puree, pickled cucumber and dill vinaigrette can all be made well in advance and kept in the fridge.
The celeriac puree also freezes well so the portion can be doubled up and half of it placed in the freezer for use at a later date.
You can use slices of fresh apple in this dish, however we have used apple crisps. If you want to try these its really simple, slice an apple thinly using a mandolin. Lay the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in an oven at 120CFan for 30 minutes then remove from oven and leave to crisp.