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I was scared of making scallops for ages because I knew how awful an overcooked scallop tastes. However, I was taught how to so it at the Waitrose Cookery School a few years ago, and it was then I realised that they really are easier to cook than steak. In a pan you need to go quick and fast to sear the outsides of the scallop, with a bit of butter or flavoured oil in the pan. Press down on the scallop, just like you will a steak, and when it looks cooked, but is still squishy you’re good to go!
However, what you’ve got here is even easier. To grill scallops still in half a shell just drizzle them with a drop of flavoured oil (we’re using chilli oil from Pomora who have kindly gifted me a subscription here to add a little warmth) or a little bit of butter, season, then whack them until a hot grill. You want about 4 minutes for little Peruvian scallops like these (look out for them on the Waitrose fish counter at the moment where they’re only 69p each!), and about 5 minutes for regular sized ones. Try to get them with the roes still attached, and if you can’t get them in the shell, just whack them straight onto the baking sheet.
I’ve come in for a lot of criticism recently for some of the ingredients I use – especially in Student Eats – which I claim are cheap and easy, but most people don’t see them that way. One Amazon reviewer took issue with the fact I’ve got chicken livers in the book (so cheap, tasty, and so easy to make I often make them as a hangover breakfast, I wish offal was more popular!) and mussels (so much cheaper than a piece of cod for homemade fish and chips) and while I know scallops are something that, when these little 69p beauties are not in season are saved for a special occasion as they can be a bit pricy, too many people are scared to cook them which is something I want to encourage. Hence why we’re going to make a plate of scallops this Halloween. If anything it is the pasta that is the splurge item on this plate (you can find lots of great options on Amazon if you don’t have an Italian deli near you that sells it) which can always be exchanged for regular pasta!
This ghoulish but elegant dish is great scaled up as a speedy Halloween dinner party dish, or just a special fish supper for two.
1 x 25g (1 oz) Pack Basil, roughly chopped
Large Pinch Sea Salt
3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Freshly Grated Parmesan
2 Small Handfuls Whole, Shelled Pistachios
180g (6 oz) Squid Ink Spaghetti
8 Small Peruvian Scallops, in their shells
Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Chilli Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pre-heat the grill / broiler to 250 degrees (480 fahrenheit).
First, make the pesto. In a pestle and mortar, combine the basil, sea salt and the extra virgin olive oil, spoonful by spoonful until you’ve created a paste. Stir in the parmesan. Add the pistachios, half at a time and bash them until they are broken up, but don’t turn them into a paste. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water as per the packets instructions.
Meanwhile, arrange the scallops in their shells on a baking tray and season with a little freshly ground salt and pepper, and a little of chilli infused olive oil. Grill for 4 minutes.
Drain the pasta and stir in the pistachio pesto. Serve on warm plates with the scallops, still in their shells arranged on top.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish
My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*