Scallops with corn purée and chilli oil

Serves 4

Corn is at its best right now, sweet and firm. Look for cobs 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.

For the corn purée

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

Cut the kernels from the cobs by standing the cobs upright on a board and running a sharp knife down in sections. Put the kernels in a saucepan, pour over the water, add the 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 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. Now chop it as finely as possible and place in a bowl, pour over the oil, add the salt and stir well to combine.

For the scallops

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.

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