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Pan-fried scallops with baby spinach, crispy bacon and cider beurre blanc

Scallops and bacon are a winning combination, complemented here by the tart sweetness of an apple beurre blanc.

Ingredients

For the scallops
  • 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon

  • olive oil

  • 12 king scallops, shelled and cleaned

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 50g/1¾ oz unsalted butter

  • 650g/1lb 7oz baby spinach, washed

For the beurre blanc
  • 200ml/7fl oz cider vinegar

  • 150g/5½oz shallots, finely chopped

  • 250ml/9fl oz sweet cider

  • 1 apple, preferably Cox’s, peeled and finely grated

  • 375g/13oz butter, cubed and chilled

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the bacon between two sheets of baking parchment and roast for 20 minutes until crisp. Set aside until cool and then crush in a pestle and mortar.

  2. For the beurre blanc, place the cider vinegar and shallots into a small heavy-based saucepan and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the cider and grated apple and gently reduce the volume of liquid by one-third.

  3. Pour the contents of the pan into a large bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Add the butter one piece at a time, whisking continuously, and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and creamy. Do not overheat or the sauce will split. Turn off the heat under the pan and leave in place to keep warm until serving.

  4. To cook the scallops, heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan. Season the scallops with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then sear in the pan for one minute. Turn the scallops, add the butter and baste the scallops for one minute until golden-brown. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the spinach and cook for one minute. Drain thoroughly and pat dry on kitchen paper. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

  6. To serve, make a pool of the beurre blanc onto each plate. Add a small handful of spinach, then top with a trio of scallops before scattering the crushed bacon over the top.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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