Sweet, succulent scallops are always a treat, but when paired with an exemplary Spanish cured ham they really shine.
4 slices of Ibérico ham
50g/1¾oz whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
For the squash purée, heat the oil and butter in a large pan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the butternut squash and roast in the pan for five minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer gently for a further 10-12 minutes until tender. Pour in the double cream and season well to taste.
In a food processor, blend the squash until smooth and then pass through a sieve into a clean pan (ready to warm gently just before serving).
For the scallops, season them with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and, once hot, fry the scallops for 1–1½ minutes on each side, until caramelized. Towards the end of cooking add a knob of butter and baste the scallops until golden-brown.
To serve, spoon the butternut squash purée into the centre of each plate. Top with the pan-fried scallops and arrange the Ibérico ham slices among them. Scatter over the chopped almonds to finish.
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