Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 10:37PM
When Nick Pledger from Island Seafare Ltd said he would like to send me some Queenie scallops to try I was very excited. It was all in aid of the up and coming Isle of Man queenie scallop festival and marine day which is taking place for the first time to celebrate the well loved local seafood. There is also a competition to enter your best queenie scallop recipe, with the prize being that the Hairy Bikers will cook your recipe on marine day and you will receive a personalised trophy and £100 worth of seafood.
While waiting for my exciting delivery I wracked my brains as how best to capture their subtle soft flavour and came up with a few ideas but since he very kindly sent me 1 Kilo of the little beauties I could try them all. The first one I wanted to try was a saffron risotto but I didn't want to mix the scallops into it, I wanted to showcase them round the edge of a risotto-y mound and have some sort of butter melting over them. The presentation is a little pretentious but I think it looks good and it shows off the most important part of the dish. The taste was really good too, even if I do say so myself.
12 Queenie scallops
200g risotto rice
750ml of fish, vegetable or chicken stock
half a wine glass of white wine or vermouth
a very large pinch of saffron
a tblsp of olive oil
a stick of celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
zest of an orange
a handful of pine nuts, toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper
smoked Maldon sea salt (optional)
extra virgin olive oil to serve.
Begin by making the butter. Coarsely chop the toasted pine nuts, place them in a bowl with the orange zest, a little seasoning and the butter and mash together with a fork. Leave to one side. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onion and celery and cook for about five minutes to soften. Stir in the rice to coat it with the oil and cook for a minute then add the vermouth or white wine and stir until it is all absorbed. Bring the stock up to simmering point and add the saffron. Start adding ladles of the stock into the rice and stir continuously until it is absorbed. Repeat the process until the rice become soft, but still retains a very slight bite. Once cooked, take the risotto off the heat, dollop half the butter on top and cover with a lid for about 10 minutes.
Take your scallops, remove the coral and toss them both separately in olive oil. Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the corals. Cook for a couple minutes until nicely coloured then stir into the risotto. Season the risotto to taste then place a mound of the risotto in the middle of a warmed plate. Take the scallops, add them to the pan and cook for about a minute on each side. Dot the rest of the butter on the top of each scallop and allow to melt. Remove from the pan and arrange around the plate, drizzling with the buttery juices from the pan and a little extra virgin olive oil. Finally crumble a few crystals of the smoked sea salt on top of each scallop and serve immediately.