One of my favourite all time starters. It’s something to wow your guests.
6 large scallops trimmed and row removed
6 thin slices of black-pudding
1 butternut squash, peeled
200ml of white wine vinegar
1tbsp of sugar
pinch of mixed peppercorns
pinch of fennel seeds
4 slices of parma ham
100ml of chicken stock or water
1 knob of butter
4/5 brussels sprouts
butternut squash puree
Firstly prep the squash. With a mandolin slice the top half of the squash as thin as you can for the pickle. You will really only need 5/6 perfect shaped slices.
In a saucepan place the white wine vinegar, peppercorns, sugar and fennel in. Bring it to the boil and then pour of the squash slices. Allow to cool an then refrigerate.
With an extra small melon baller cut out 10 little balls of butternut squash as a garnish.
Keep the rest of the squash for soups or even puree for this dish.
With the brussels sprouts, we are only looking for the outer leaves. Cut the bottom stem off and peel out the outer leaves. In a small saucepan place the brussels sprout leaves and butternut squash balls in with the butter and stock and cook on a really light heat for 3-4 mins. Keep warm and set aside.
For the parma ham place it between two sheets of parchment paper and weigh it between two trays. Place into a preheated oven at 190oC for 12-14mins until crisp. You can have this job done the night or day before.
Now you are ready for the scallops. Be prepared with a smoking hot pan and have a tray lined with kitchen paper. You will need to work quick with these. Once you have them cooked you will need to serve them right away otherwise they will over cook and turn out like rubber.
Season the scallops with sea salt on both sides. Add the olive oil in. And starting at the top of the pan work your way around it, placing them the side you are going to present down on the pan, making sure the pan is absolutely smoking hot. Add in the black pudding. Each batch of scallops will be different sizes so there is no set time on them. You will have to use your instinct. Check the first scallop you have placed down to see if it’s golden. If you are happy with the colour, proceed to quickly turn them. Turn the black pudding also as it can cook very fast. Once you’ve turned them be ready to remove them from the pan normally after 30seconds to a minute. Drain from the pan on kitchen paper and now serve.
In squeezy bottles I normally keep my purees and gels for presentation.
Add on some puree, then the pickle, then the brussels sprouts, the squash balls and then the balsamic gel.
Place neatly on the scallops and black-pudding arranging them between one another. Top with the crispy parma ham and then finally the micro leaves. Enjoy!