Juicy scallops are a real seafood treat. This recipe for seared scallops with and pea and mint purée is a classic culinary pairing.

About Scallops

Scallops are easy to  identify by their two large fan-shaped shells with chunky ribs. They are  generally found in sandy parts of the sea bed where they filter their food from the water.  Scallops are described as “free-living” shellfish which means unlike most molluscs they can swim short distances particularly to escape danger. They do this by clapping their shells together which allows them to “hop” and “jump” in a jerky jet propelled jig along the sea bed.

This is good news for shellfish eaters because they have developed a large adductor muscle to do this – This is the large white disk on your plate. The other part you will see is usually bright orange sometimes paler or white and is known as the coral (because of its colour). This is the roe.

The scallop shell is the traditional emblem of St James hence the origin of the French name Coquille St. Jacques

For this  recipe allow two large scallops per person as a starter more if you are making a light supper. They are rich and filling so if they are large specimens you will not need many. Allow about 20 minutes to prepare and cook.

Ingredients For Scallops With Pea And Mint

12 large scallops, corals removed from Walter Purkis & Sons
50g butter
½ small onion, finely chopped
125g frozen peas
Dash of sherry
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
1 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions, shredded and deep-fried, to garnish

Cooking Method For Scallops With Pea And Mint

Melt half the butter in a small saucepan and cook the onion until soft. Add the peas and the dash of sherry. Cook on a low heat for 5 – 10 minutes. Season and stir in the mint and cream. Leave to cool slightly.

Process the pea mixture in a food processor until it is smooth.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and oil in a pan and sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes each side.

Serve the scallops right away topped with some of the minted pea and garnished with the shredded spring onion.