scallops with chorizo
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Scallops are molluscs. Like mussels, oysters, clams and cockles. They live in very beautiful shells, in fact when you think of a ‘sea shell’ it will most usually be a scallop shell that you’ll picture.
So what’s been puzzling me for a while is this: if they’re from the same family as mussels, oysters etc. why do they not have to be cooked live as all their shelled cousins? But no, dead as a dodo they come from the fishmonger - where I live, sadly, not in lovely shells but from a plastic box. Still – dead. And will keep in the fridge for a day or two, though undoubtedly best spanking fresh.
Well, I’ve asked Uncle Google and it turns out that what we eat is not the whole animal but only a muscle that the little creatures use to hold on to their shells or expunge water to move forward. Coral – or roe – is usually attached too, and edible. Although The Weather Man sniffs at it – well, more for me.
Of course ideally you’d want to buy them live too but we don’t live in an ideal world but in the south east of England.
Fantastically healthy discs of pure protein, they are easy to cook but just as easy to overcook and turn rubbery. A minute on each side in a very hot pan, with butter which won’t get burnt in such a short time, and there you have an exquisite starter or a main if not that hungry.
scallops with chorizo
- fresh king scallops, 3 per person as a starter, 4-5, or as many as you can afford, for a main course
- chorizo slices, preferably uncooked, as many as you have scallops
- 1 small courgette
- salt and pepper
- clarified butter, or a mix of butter and oil, for frying
- balsamic syrup for garnish
Rinse and thoroughly dry the scallops, trim the white hard bits (where the mollusc was attached to the shell), clean any intestinal residue from the coral. Slice the courgette into discs.
Place the chorizo slices in a cold large frying pan with a dot of butter and fry until very crispy. Halfway through add the courgette slices and fry until nicely coloured on both sides.
Just before the sausage and courgette are ready, heat the butter or butter and oil in a small pan or skillet, add the scallops and season generously with salt and pepper. Be careful – if not thoroughly dry, they might spit viciously. Sear for one minute on each side.
Place the chorizo on a plate, top with courgette discs and a scallop. Dot or drizzle with the balsamic glaze.