Heroes in a half-shell: Skye Gyngell cooks with scallops

A sweet seafood delicacy hand-dived in British waters? What's not to love about scallops?

Plump, sweet scallops are one of the most delicious things found in the seas around England. The scallops we cook in the restaurant come from Dorset – "hand-dived" and very fresh, they are a treat to eat.

Look for scallops that are hand-dived, as this is important – being dredged in large quantities by nets from the bottom of the ocean disturbs their equilibrium, and is bad for the environment.

Also, use fresh rather than frozen, because they taste so much better – when frozen, they become waterlogged, do not brown easily during cooking and tend to taste a little like cotton wool.

Cook in the hottest pan possible – preferably non-stick – no more than a minute on each side, so that their centre is just cooked through; overcooking causes them to become rubbery and unpalatable. Allow three per person as a starter or five as a main course. Serve while piping hot.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Scallops with corn purée and chilli oil

Scallops and corn work well together. Corn is at its best right now, sweet and firm. Look for corn with the husks left on; the kernels should be plump and tight. This purée also works well with chicken, girolles and seafood – crab, prawns and clams.

Serves 4

For the corn purée
3 fresh corn cobs, husks removed
120ml/4fl oz water
11/2 tsp sugar
One dried chilli, crumbled
40g/1oz butter
50ml/2fl oz crème fraîche
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the kernels from the cobs. The easiest way to do this is to stand the cobs upright on a board and run a sharp knife down in sections. Put the kernels in a saucepan, pour over the water, add the dried chilli and the sugar. Place over a medium heat and cook until the corn is tender – this will take 20-25 minutes. Drain, discard the chilli and place in a food processor along with the butter. Purée until smooth. Remove from the machine and return to the saucepan, then add the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper to taste and warm through again just before serving.

For the chilli oil

1 red chilli
80ml/3fl oz olive oil
A pinch of salt

Slice the chilli in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. Chop the chilli as finely as possible and place in a bowl, pour over the olive oil, add the salt and stir well to combine.

For the scallops

1/2 tbsp olive oil
20 scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A squeeze or two of lime juice

Place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the olive oil and allow the pan to become really hot. Season the scallops with the salt and pepper and place them in the frying pan. Make sure they are not too close together as they will steam rather than brown. Cook for one minute on one side before turning and cooking on the underside for a further minute. While the scallops are cooking, gently reheat the corn. Remove the scallops from the heat and squeeze over the lime juice. Spoon the corn on to a plate and lay the scallops on top. Spoon over the chilli oil and serve.

Scallops with chickpeas and green sauce

This is almost like a salad. The chickpeas are served at room temperature, while the fresh and vibrant green sauce lifts the dish as a whole. Don't be tempted to leave it out, as the dish will lose all its life.

Serves 4

20 scallops
400g/13oz cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt

For the green sauce

3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tbsp chopped mint
3 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
1 tsp red-wine vinegar
Sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
The juice of half a lemon

Place all the chopped herbs and the anchovies into a bowl. Add the vinegar and a little salt and stir well to combine. Pour over the olive oil and stir once again.

Place the chickpeas into a bowl. Add the vinegar, parsley and olive oil, and season with the salt. Squeeze over the lemon juice and stir together.

Cook the scallops as per the first recipe (left). Spoon the chickpeas on to a plate and lay the scallops on top. Pour over the green sauce and serve at once.

Roasted onion squash, chard and scallops

Onion squash is the first variety of squash of the year. It has a tender skin that does not need to be removed – its sweet depth works beautifully with the scallops.

Serves 4

1 onion squash
2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for the pan
A pinch of fennel seed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 stalks of chard, leaves only
The juice of half a lemon
20 scallops

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6.

Slice the onion squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then slice into one- inch chunks. Place into a roasting dish and drizzle over a tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 25 minutes – the squash should be tender but not falling apart.

While the squash is cooking, boil a pot of well-salted water then plunge in the chard and cook for three minutes. Now drain, place both the chard and the squash into a bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice. Add the rest of the olive oil and toss together to combine. Season to taste.

Cook the scallops as per the first recipe (above). Arrange the vegetables on to a plate and top with the cooked scallops. Serve at once.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own