Seared queen scallops with asparagus and a horseradish sauce


Jack Stein was born in Cornwall and is the middle son of three boys to celebrated chef Rick Stein. He began his career as a kitchen porter during school holidays in The Seafood Restaurant kitchen. At 16 he moved to front of house where he remained throughout his education. Jack completed a BSc in Psychology and an MA in Ancient History at Cardiff University.

In 2003, he returned to The Seafood Restaurant as commis chef then after two years, took up the position of sous chef at Rick Stein’s Café for another year.

Following this, Jack then went on to Paris to do a stage at La Régalade, which ignited a passion for travel and a period of stage work all over the world. During this time, Jack travelled to Australia for an extended stay at Tetsuya’s in Sydney, before exploring the Far East and Japan.

On his return to Padstow, he re-entered The Seafood Restaurant as sous chef before moving on to a tournant role across the whole company. He is currently the head of development for the company, leading the installation and introduction of a development kitchen for the business, where new recipes and ingredients will be tested.

Image ©Robert Sroga
Follow Jack on Twitter @Jackstein

Seared queen scallops with asparagus and a horseradish sauce

Serves two as a starter

This month we really see springtime kicking in as nature starts to awaken, bringing us a bounty of ingredients to utilise.

I wanted a recipe inspired by the forthcoming Jubilee. I toyed with the idea of a fish royal but was unhappy with the result, and then I thought, how about using the queen scallop from the Isle of Man? They are a beautiful and very sustainable shellfish. The white muscle has high levels of glutamate which when seared give a sweet, savoury flavour. In this dish the queenies are paired with the first of the season’s asparagus. We get ours from St Enodoc, just across the Camel Estuary and it’s the best I have ever tasted. Asparagus is a true representation of spring and a welcome addition to our larder!

I have just returned from a stage in France at Maison Bras in Aubrac. The brigade there spends a lot of time looking for wild flowers and herbs to use in their cooking. In particular, I discovered their use of cowslips as an ingredient. Padstow is famous for its May Day festivities when the Obby Oss is led out from its stable to welcome in the summer and every year I have worn a posy of flowers on my lapel including the cowslip, so it’s great to be able to use them in my dish (always consult a guidebook when picking wild food).

For texture I have added some browned almonds and a sauce made simply from cream and horseradish.

It is quite a simple and highly seasonal dish, celebrating great British produce and in particular the queenie!

Ingredients

  • 12 queen scallops (shell on) or 6 normal scallops
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt (to season)
  • 30ml double cream
  • 1 tsp horseradish cream
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 8 yellow cowslip flowers

Method

  1. Remove the scallops from the shell and give them a quick wash to remove any dirt or grit, season with sea salt.
  2. For the asparagus, warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan then add the spears and salt, cover with a lid and allow to cook very slowly for 5 – 6 minutes, until just tender. Remove from the pan and trim off the rough ends.
  3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the almonds. Fry until lightly golden then carefully remove the flakes from the pan and pat dry with kitchen roll.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat until very hot and add the scallops for 40 seconds on the first side and 20 seconds on the reverse, they are small and can easily overcook so be careful to brown one side and barely cook the other to ensure they are not tough.
  5. For the sauce, add the double cream to the horseradish with some sea salt and combine.
  6. To assemble, use the asparagus spears as a bed and dot the plate with scallops, pour the sauce over and sprinkle the almonds and cowslip to finish.

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