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Pan-fried scallops with peas, crisp bacon and quails' eggs

A classic combination of flavours come together in this starter, with a vibrant pea velouté adding a splash of colour.

Ingredients

For the pea sauce
For the bacon and girolles
  • 12 small rashers pancetta

  • 100g/4oz pancetta lardons

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 50g/2oz girolle mushrooms, thoroughly cleaned

  • knob of butter

  • 1-2 tbsp boiling water

  • 100g/3½oz peas

  • 1 Baby Gem lettuce, trimmed and split into leaves

For the eggs
For the scallops

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

  2. For the pea sauce, gently fry the shallot, garlic and thyme in the butter for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes or until reduced slightly.

  3. Strain into a clean pan and return to the boil. Add the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain the peas, reserving some of the cooking stock. Blend the peas in a food processor with enough of the reserved stock to form a smooth, velvety purée. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the vinegar and transfer to a bowl set over another bowl of iced water (this will help retain the vibrant green colour of the sauce).

  4. For the bacon and girolles, sandwich the pancetta rashers in between two heavy baking trays. Place into the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is crisp. Set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

  5. Meanwhile, blanch the lardons in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

  6. Fry the lardons in the olive oil over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the girolles, reduce the heat and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, stir in the boiling water and stir briskly to emulsify the butter and water. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the peas and lettuce leaves and cook until just wilted.

  7. For the eggs, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the eggs in the oil for 2-3 minutes, or until the whites are cooked and the yolks are softly set. Baste with oil as they cook.

  8. For the scallops, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the scallops in the olive oil over a high heat for about one minute, or until golden-brown on the bottom. Turn over and cook for just under a minute, or until just cooked through (take care not to overcook the scallops). Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

  9. To serve, reheat the pea velouté. Spoon the bacon and girolles mixture onto serving plates and rest the scallops on top. Place the crisp pancetta rashers and fried quails’ eggs on top of the scallops. Spoon the pea sauce around the plate.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4

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