Last year I was invited to the Isle of Man Queenie Festival, the first to be held. As you might guess, fishing for queen scallops is a pretty serious business on the island. Given that it takes as long to prep a little queenie as it does to clean a large scallop, you could argue that it's not worthwhile, but they are delicious and the possibilities are endless. Very fresh queenies are excellent eaten raw – I rate them on a par with oysters and they can be served in the same way.
24-32 very fresh queenies, prepared and left in the half-shell
For the dressing
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2tbsp cider vinegar
1tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
tbsp chopped wild fennel
Juice of lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the shallots and cider vinegar in a small pan, bring to the boil, then tip into a bowl. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Finely chop the cucumber into 5mm dice, then add to the shallots. Add the rapeseed oil, fennel and lemon juice, toss to combine and season well. Leave to stand for about 20 minutes.
Spoon the marinated cucumber on to the queenies and serve.