Skye Gyngell: Grilled scallops with roasted sweet potato, tomatoes and salsa verde

Serves 4
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The Independent Online

Scallops, sweet potatoes and tomatoes all have a gentle sweetness about them – but what saves this dish from being too sweet is the herby saltiness of the salsa verde.

For the salsa verde

1 small bunch of basil, leaves only
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only
A handful of rocket, leaves only
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
40ml/11/2fl oz red-wine vinegar
3 anchovy fillets
1tbsp capers, well rinsed
220ml/71/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the roasted vegetables

2 sweet potatoes
80ml/3fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of thyme
1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes
350g/111/2oz little cherry or plum tomatoes

For the scallops

25ml1fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
16 scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start by making the salsa verde. Roughly chop the herbs and combine together in a bowl. Add the garlic, mustard and vinegar, stir well to combine. Finely chop the anchovies and capers and add to the bowl. Pour over the olive oil and stir. Let the ingredients sit together for five minutes or so – the flavours will change slightly as they get to know one another. Taste and adjust as necessary – at this stage, add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the roasted vegetables, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into generous-sized chunks. Place in a roasting tray and pour over the olive oil. Scatter over the thyme and chilli flakes and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes then remove and add the whole tomatoes. Return to the oven and turn down the heat to 180C/350F/Gas4 and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are caramelised and soft, and the tomatoes have burst their skin.

For the scallops, place a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the scallops, cook for a minute on one side, then turn and cook for 40 seconds on the other side.

To serve, arrange the warm tomatoes and sweet potato on a plate, place the scallops on top and spoon over the salsa verde.