I adore Scallops. I love cooking them and they are most definitely in my top five favourite foods to eat, anytime, anywhere. This recipe is a little different from seared or pan-fried scallops as they are fried in a crust of Sesame seeds. The sweet firm flesh of the scallop is a perfect foil for the sweet, sour, salt flavours of the dressing and the crisp Asian inspired salad. The Syrup can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, it makes a great dipping sauce for spring rolls and dim sum.
Sesame crusted Scallops with an Asian style Salad serves 4
16 diver caught Scallops ( ask your fishmonger to prepare them )
A good slug of Olive Oil
A large knob of Jersey Butter
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
for the Asian style Salad
1 large Carrot, washed and peeled
1 bunch Spring Onions, washed and trimmed
1 small bulb of Fennel
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
1 small tin of Bamboo Shoots, drained
1 small tin Water Chestnuts, drained
100 gr fresh Bean Sprouts
1 Red Chilli, finely sliced
A small handful of Thai Basil or Coriander
Freshly ground Black Pepper
for the Dipping sauce
200 ml Water
100 gr Caster sugar
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely crushed
1 small Red Chilli, finely diced
1 small piece of fresh Ginger ( about 25 gr ) peeled and finely grated
2 stems of Lemon Grass, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons Fish sauce
2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
Zest and juice of 2 Limes
In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan place the prepared chilli, ginger, lemongrass, and garlic. Add the sugar, the juice of two limes, fish sauce, soy and the water. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes taking care not to caramelise. Reduce to a light syrup. Set aside and allow to thoroughly cool.
Prepare the salad vegetables by slicing the spring onions, carrot, peppers and fennel into fine strips or Julienne. Plunge into a bowl of iced water for ten to fifteen minutes, this will really crisp them up. Thinly slice the water chestnuts. In a large mixing bowl place the lime zest and six to eight tablespoons of the cooled syrup. Grate in a little freshly ground pepper and stir. Thoroughly drain the salad vegetables and dry on kitchen paper.
In a heavy-bottomed frying pan melt the butter and olive oil over a high heat. Season the prepared scallops immediately before cooking and roll in sesame seeds. Place carefully in the pan and sauté for one to two minutes until the seeds are golden brown. Turn over and cook for one more minute. Sprinkle with sesame oil and set aside. Toss all of the salad ingredients in the dressing and add some roughly torn Thai Basil before placing in the center of the serving plate. Place on the scallops, drizzle with a little extra syrup and serve.