King Scallops with Herb and Pesto Butter

The very best way to buy scallops is live in their shells, this way you can guarantee they're freshness and taste. Scallops are easy to open: Wash them to remove any sand, place the scallop flat side down on a board and simply run a thin sharp knife between the shells running it along the bottom shell, keeping it as close to the shell as possible. This will kill the scallop and the shell will open, carefully remove the scallop from the top shell with the knife. Trim the scallop leaving simply the tender white meat and the coral (optional). Of course you can ask your fishmonger to do this but it means that the scallop is killed and will need to be cooked soon as the flavour will quickly deteriorate, I like to open them just before cooking.

Portions: 6 Portions or 18 as a canape

Preparation: 5 minutes once scallops are opened (allow 20-30 minutes)

Cooking: 3 minutes

Ingredients

Scallops

  • 18 scallops in their shells (prepared as above or opened by your fishmonger), reserve the top half of the shell to cook the scallops

Herb and Pesto Butter

  • 6 tbsp mixture of: mint, flat leaf parsley, basil and chives roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • juice and zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • Beetroot Fettuccini (see recipe), tossed with peas, mint garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
  • or a light salad

Method

  1. Herb and Pesto Butter: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth mixture, so that all the ingredients are well combined. Alternatively finely chop all the ingredients and grind the pine nuts in a mortar and pestle, and mix all the ingredients together with a fork until well combined.
  2. To Cook: Preheat a grill to high. Place the scallops on their half shells on an oven tray. Place a generous helping of the herb and pesto butter on each scallop. Place the scallops under the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes until herb butter has melted and is slightly golden. Remove the scallops from under the grill and serve at once.
  3. To Serve: Serve the scallops on their own as a starter or with the beetroot and pea pasta or a light salad as a main dish.