Now I have already posted how much I adore cooking and eating great seafood. You have to excuse me but come on everyone I live on an island. In Jersey we are graced with some of the most amazing seafood you will eat. Now you may positively love lobster or crave freshly picked crab, but my favourite ( astute readers may have guessed already ) is the succulent scallop. So here is my recipe for Diver caught Scallops with Lentils and Bacon. If you visit Jersey you can also choose mackerel in season, skate, and plaice. If you like shellfish then mussels and oysters are grown in the clear waters around the island. In short, an abundance of fish and shellfish.
Protecting the Marine Environment.
Before I get to the recipe the only scallops you should consider eating are diver caught. Cheaper commercially dredged scallops can cause considerable damage to the seabed. Here is a link about sourcing sustainable fish and seafood. The Marine Stewardship Council helps conserve fishing stocks for the future.
Whenever I cook scallops I always think of the actress Uma Thurman stepping out of a gigantic scallop shell. In one of her earliest roles as Venus in the madcap film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, it is a striking piece of cinematography. The whole scene is beautiful and I like to think that this is a beautiful dish. I’m not the most refined and elegant cook but this is really a simple but stunning recipe. It pairs the sweet scallops and tomatoes with a hint of smoke and saltiness from the bacon.
The Wine Choice –There are an awful lot of flavours and textures in this dish, so we need a wine that has similar attributes. The strongest flavour on the plate is going to be the bacon but if we choose a red to match solely to that we lose the delicacy and subtle sweetness of the scallops. Likewise, if we match a delicate white purely for the scallops we risk the wine being overpowered by the savoury bacon and sweet tomato flavours. A Sancerre Rosé, made from the Pinot Noir grape, dry with aromas of strawberries and gooseberries covers all the bases.
Diver Caught Scallops with Lentils and Bacon
- 18 diver caught Jersey Scallops washed and patted dry
- 200 grams Puy Lentils
- 6 slices Smoked Streaky Bacon cut into very thin strips
- 1 punnet Vine Cherry Tomatoes
- 4 Banana Shallots peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 large Carrot peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 stick Celery washed and very finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
- 450 ml quality Chicken stock
- 250 ml good dry Apple Cider
- 2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Purée
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 Lemon
- ½ tablespoon Soft Brown Sugar
- 100 gr Jersey Butter
- 75 ml good Olive Oil
- 2 Bay leaf
- 2 Cloves
For the Lentils
- First, wash the lentils in a sieve under cold running water. In a medium size, heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the cider, vinegar, half the shallots, a bay leaf, and the cloves. Reduce the volume by three quarters and strain into a small pan or bowl, add the sugar and season well then set aside.
- Heat thirty grams of butter and twenty-five milliliters of oil in a second heavy bottomed pan and sauté the bacon pieces until crisp for about ten minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to drain. Sauté the remaining shallots, carrots, and celery for twenty minutes until soft gently colouring to add extra flavour.
- Stir in the tomato purée, thyme, and garlic and cook for a further minute, add the lentils and stock and bring up to a gentle simmer. Season well and cook until tender, stirring occasionally for around half an hour. The lentils will absorb the flavours of the stock and vegetables, add a little boiling water if they start to stick. Once the lentils are soft add the cherry tomatoes and stir.
For the Scallops
- Melt fifty grams of butter with a good splash of oil in a large heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming add half the scallops, then and only then season generously and cook until brown. This normally takes around two minutes, flip over the scallops and cook for one more minute.
- Place the scallops on kitchen paper and keep warm and wipe out the pan. Cook the remaining scallops and drain. Gently warm the lentils and bring the cider reduction to a simmer. Whisk the remaining cold butter into the cider sauce and remove from the heat.
- To serve place some lentils or a plate in each scallop shell and top with the scallops and bacon pieces. Drizzle with the cider sauce and top with the herbs.