We spotted a this photo from the Watercress website promoting their Valentine’s Day menu and we begged to have the recipe. This recipe for scallops with, (of course), watercress is so beautiful, so romantic and so sexy we cannot resist–and we don’t think anyone else will be able to either!
With only 15 minutes of prep and 15 minutes cooking time, it’s a surprisingly fast and easy recipe for something so stunning on the plate. And we love that it not only features scallop, a legendary aphrodisiac of the sea but also the aphrodisiacs of hazelnut, mustard and watercress. And although the image does a wonderful job of “wowing” the sense of sight, where this recipe for scallops truly shines is in it’s teasing blend of flavors and textures. Soft, plump scallop with it’s sweet, ocean flavor mingles with the fresh, faintly peppery flavor of watercress and the bitter crunch of pea shoots.
A tip on presentation
The recipe recommends serving on small plates like side plates or dessert plates but we love the presentation in the photo with the scallops served in the shell. If you don’t happen to have a pair of scallop shells laying around, you can order a quartet of food-safe shells from Amazon. (The recipe for scallops includes instructions for how to prep the shells.) Just be prepared for your lover’s reaction. We think that anyone served a plate of food this sensually enticing will have a hard time controlling his or herself from devouring (the food and possibly the chef as well).
This sensual recipe for scallops is an ideal starter to a romantic dinner for two. A light, seafood dish with a salad of watercress and pea shoots, it can be prepared in just half an hour.
- 6 large scallops cleaned (shells optional for presentation)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 oz hazelnuts
- 1 shallot
- 5 tbsp butter softened
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp. chopped chervil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ tbsp. wholegrain mustard
- ½ tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp. sunflower oil
- 1 handful pea shoots
- 1 handful watercress
Place a frying pan on a low-medium heat until warm. Finely slice the shallot, then fry gently with the olive oil until softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add the hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse until chopped quite finely. Be careful not to blend for too long so that they do not form a paste.
Into a bowl add the soft butter, hazelnuts, softened shallots, lemon zest, and chervil. Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat the grill to high. If using scallop shells, place each scallop on an individual shell on a baking tray. If not the scallops can be placed directly onto the tray. Top each scallop with a spoonful of the hazelnut and butter mixture. Once the grill is ready, place the scallops underneath for 3-4 minutes, then remove and set aside to rest for one minute.
Make the salad by whisking the mustard, vinegar and vegetable oil together in a bowl. Taste and add salt if necessary, then add in the watercress and pea shoots and toss together.
Serve the rested scallops on two serving plates with the salad on the side.
photo by Lara Jane Thorpe
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