Devon 16 September 1997
Walking back from the Post Office, a blackboard outside the Galley Seafood
Restaurant beckoned me in: "Live diver's scallops £6 dozen". David,
the chef and owner, had been out diving off of Exmouth and had fetched
a batch of large kings from the seabed by hand.
scallops are infinitely finer than those dragged up by trawlers as they
don't suffer the damage and trauma which the latter inevitably do when
fished commercially with chains. Indeed, we consider such live scallops,
especially those from our own Devon coast, to be just about the finest
shellfish in the world.
just another Monday night, but the chance for a sensational weekday
meal all the same: the scallops quickly seared on the griddle to caramelize
the surface but still left slightly undercooked inside and so delectably
sweet, and served on a bed of mâche and cilantro together with
roasted tomatoes and boiled new potatoes.
Scallops with Mâche and Cilantro Salad
A dozen live
extra virgin olive oil
of mâche (or rucola)
of cilantro (coriander), coarsely chopped
A few drops
of sherry vinegar
scallops out of their shells and clean and wash. Separate the coral
from the body flesh, and slice the scallops horizontally in two. Marinade
in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
the salad, dress and place on plates.
griddle to hot, oil lightly, then lay the scallops on it in a single
layer. As soon as all the scallops have been laid on the griddle, turn
the first ones immediately. Once all have been turned, the first scallops
should be seared on the outside and fully cooked, no more than two minutes
or so in all. Cook the coral separately on the griddle for no more than
about 20-30 seconds.
scallops and their coral on the bed of dressed mâche and cilantro,
dribble with a bit of sherry vinegar, and serve with roasted tomatoes
and boiled new potatoes on the side.
Suggestion: The sweet, seared flavour of the scallops is brought
out marvellously when accompanied by a traditional oaked Rioja. We enjoyed
this dish with a sensational bottle of Marques de Murrieta Ygay Reserva
1991, the vibrant lemony flavours of the Viura grape emerging from the
deeper, caramelly wood tones of old oak.