Pan-fried scallops with roasted red peppers and marjoram salmoriglio
Sunday 21 August 2011
24 scallops, cleaned
Salt and pepper
tbsp olive oil
For the roasted red peppers
1 large Italian red pepper
20 Datterini tomatoes
1 tbsp good-quality olive oil
A splash of Volpaia red-wine vinegar
1 pinch sea salt
A few tinned anchovies
For the salmoriglio
4 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly diced
tsp sea salt
Bunch of marjoram, leaves only
tsp dried red chilli flakes
220ml/7 fl oz good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
First, pre-heat the oven to 100C/225F/ Gas ¼. Halve, core, and deseed the red pepper, making sure you remove all the white pith and membrane. Place in a roasting pan with the tomatoes and add olive oil, a splash of red-wine vinegar and salt, scattering a few tinned anchovies across the pan. Slow-roast in the oven for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, make the marjoram salmoriglio (a sauce from southern Italy). Pound the garlic to a rough paste using a pestle and mortar, then add the salt and continue to pound until smooth. Add the marjoram leaves and chilli and pound lightly, then pour in the olive oil and stir well to combine. Cover and set aside until it is ready to use, adding the lemon juice just before serving.
It is best to have the scallops ready at room temperature and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Towards the very end of the roasting time, place a heavy-based (ideally non-stick) frying pan on a high heat and allow it to get very hot. Drizzle half a tablespoon of oil into the pan and when the oil begins to smoke, add the scallops, arranging them in a single layer. It is important not to overcrowd the pan (if you do, the scallops will stew, not fry), so cook in two batches if necessary. Cook for one minute only, then turn and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. The scallops should be crunchy and golden on the surface, with a sweet and delicious taste.
Serve the scallops with the roasted red peppers and some seasonal salad leaves, drizzling the salmoriglio over the entire dish. Serve straight away with a wedge or two of lemon on the side.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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