PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FLAVOURED BUTTER & GREENS

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Hello everyone! As the feasting season embarks, what can be effortless, enticing, and succulent to serve for sharing? For me, it will be some golden seared scallops, with crispy corners laid on a bed of steamy greens with flavoured wine butter.

Today’s recipe is inspired by Donna Hay’s variations of flavoured butter from last year’s Christmas issue. What is flavoured butter? Basically, it’s an assemble of herbs, dried fruits, and nuts of your choice, mixed together with soft grass fed butter, and rolled into a huge Tootsie Roll to freeze. Then, cut a few slices and let them liquefy on your lightly seasoned roasts, blanched foods just before serving. Convenient and easy!

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For my version, I've chopped up dried cranberries, pistachios and fresh dill for the Christmas colours, grated a substantial amount of orange zest and finished with a splash of Sauvignon Blanc from TTG wines for the bonus citrus flavour.

As for scallops, gosh, they are so meaty and luxuriously tender, yet easy to overcook for the first time.

Before we start cooking, there are two types of scallops, wet and dry scallops.

Wet scallops aka “soaked” scallops are generally whiter in colour. They are soaked in a bath of phosphate to gain water-weight after absorption. What you purchased are “swelled” scallops. Once they are cooked, the absorbed water evaporates and they shrivel. Also, bear in mind that they take longer to caramelise and less sweet than their dry counterparts. However, if you’re a little price conscious and not too concern about the size of the scallops, wet scallops still works fine! Fyi, I am using wet scallops in this recipe simply because it is for sharing, and flavoured butter improves the taste to be naturally balanced.

Dry scallops are off white, leaning towards “vanilla” shade, as they are not soaked in phosphate. In fact, they are the natural, and superior scallops that caramelises gorgeously. Of course, they are slightly on the pricey end.

The key to treat scallops right is to pat them dry on kitchen towel, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and use kitchen tongs to lay them swiftly on a pool of shimmering olive oil. Don’t get too excited and hasty to flip them. Leave them untouched to sear, swivel a little for even browning then gently flip them only once. Cook the other side about half the time required on the first side to preserve their tenderness.

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While searing the scallops, blanch french beans and peas concurrently. Just before both are ready to remove from heat, unwrap flavoured butter, chop a desired amount first and store the rest. Drain and plate the greens on a platter, and stack the crispy, browned scallops and flavoured butter alongside.

You’ve got to be quick for this final step for the liquid gold moment to happen!

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Finally pair this delicious, buttery seafood main course with the aforementioned white wine. It’s herbaceous taste profile melded with exotic fruit notes is surprisingly soothing to wash down the richness in one mouthful.

An absolute woman’s pleaser I must say!

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Additional notes:

  • Before flavoured butter at least 2 hours ahead of cooking, I prefer to prepare them a night before.

  • Store and freeze flavoured butter for up to 2 weeks

  • Once scallops are thawed, pour thawed water and use scallops immediately. Do not leave them out in room temperature.

Leave your comments down below if you have any questions regarding the recipe!

PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FLAVOURED BUTTER & GREENS

(Serves 3)

Preparation time: 5 min

Time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS

(FLAVOURED BUTTER)

  • 1 tbsp Sauvignon Blanc (Walnut Block, TTG wines)

  • 227g unsalted grass fed butter (Kerrygold)

  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped

  • ½ tsp orange zest

  • 2 tsp fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste


(SCALLOPS AND GREENS)

  • 10 frozen Canadian sea scallops, thawed

  • ½ cup frozen garden peas, thawed

  • 250g French beans

  • 3 fresh pink radishes, sliced

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

KITCHEN ACCESSORIES

  • 15cm x 25cm aluminium foil

  • 4 pcs kitchen towel

  • Kitchen tongs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Leave out unsalted butter in a mixing bowl for 5 minutes till it softens. Add all flavoured butter ingredients into the bowl, and mix thoroughly till they are combined. Taste, and sprinkle more salt till desired. 

  2. Lay butter mixture on the edge of the aluminium foil sheet closest to you. Gently pull away the edge of the sheet from work surface and roll over the filling. Tuck the filling tight, twist both ends to secure it. Put in the freezer at least 2 hours before slicing the amount you need every time. 

  3. Divide and lay thawed scallops on two kitchen towels, take another two pieces to pat dry completely. Season lightly with salt and black pepper on both sides.

  4. Heat olive oil on a large skillet over medium high (induction hob heat 7) until it shimmers. Lay scallops, flat side down with spaces in between quickly. Avoid overcrowding, work in two batches if necessary. Without flipping, Swivel and move around scallops for even browning. in pan Cook scallops for 4 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes until flesh turns faintly solid white, and forms white strips. Transfer scallops to a plate. 

  5. While pan-searing scallops, boil 1 litre water in a medium sauce pot over medium high. Blanch garden peas and French beans for 3-4 minutes till they turn bright green. Drain and plate them on a platter. 

  6. Cut two slices of flavoured butter, about 1.5cm wide and lay them on the greens. Stack pan-seared scallops and radishes over greens. Sprinkle pistachios, serve and pair with a bottle of Walnut Block Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy!Xx

-Ally

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY | SEAFOOD VERMICELLI WITH SALTED EGG

Few nights ago when Ryan and I were chilling after watching Game of Thrones, we started firing quick questions at each other. Basically we had to answer super fast and not supposed to think too hard. When I got the ball rolling, the questions were pretty simple.

A: Chocolate or Cookies?

R:  🍫

A: Christmas or New Year?

R:  🎄

Then...when it was my turn to be bombarded, here's what happened

R: Sporty or Lace? 

A: Lace 🙊

R: Mama Chow or Daddy Chow?

A: Hmm...

I contemplated for five good seconds. In the end I chose Mama Chow. If that question was asked five years ago, my answer would be the same, except that it will be answered without much thinking. The difference in time to respond between now and then signified how it became tougher to choose between them.

Now that I responded slower, it has made me realized that my relationship with Daddy Chow have already strengthened over the last five years. Being a traditional man, he is a hardworking and dutiful sole breadwinner for the family.That's about it. As a man of few words, our father-daughter conversation usually lasted no more than 30 minutes since I was young. Therefore, I used to feel distant from him. 

Later I found out that his primary love language for the family is the "act of service", where his actions speak for his love and care. In retrospect, I was ignorant to appreciate that. Eventually, as I grew older, paternal love was much evident than before. No matter rain or shine, he would drive me to school every morning during my undergraduate studies. Even for the past 17 months, we interacted longer and struck deeper conversations about life and survival tips at work, on our way to work. I'm fortunate to be labelled as a daddy's girl.

If you feel the same as I did in the past, I will encourage you to identify your parents' primary love language, and make sense of their approach of loving you. You may disagree or doubt their love and attention, that's because they're not speaking your dominant language out of the Five love languages :) Find it out and embrace the present to validate their love by showing your appreciation using their primary love language respectively.

Oh!  If you discover our fathers share the same love language, then "act of service" is the bull's eye to celebrate this Father's Day! Stop thinking hard on what gifts to buy or which restaurant to make a reservation. Serve a home cook seafood vermicelli with salted egg will overweight them. It's the one way street and your old man definitely deserves it! Happy Father's Day!

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 9 prawns
  • 12 clams
  • 3 dried rice vermicelli
  • 3 cilantro stems
  • 2 salted egg yolk
  • 1 spring onion stem
  • 1 ginger
  • ½ bulb garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
  • Canola oil
  • White pepper
  • Salt

Kitchen Equipment

  • Small pot
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Big plate/casserole dish
  • Ladle
  • Fork
  • Preparation

Preparation

  • Put 1 tablespoon of salt in a huge bowl. Wash clams thoroughly and soak in saltwater for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, trim off antennae and rostrum of the prawns.
  • Chop garlic, ginger and cilantro in small chunks. Side aside in separate bowls. Slice spring onions in short lengths.

Cooking

  • Drain clams and wash them again with water.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil into small pot over medium heat. When oil is heated, pour in ginger, and ½ portion garlic. Fry garlic until light brown, slowly pour in clams at a low level to reduce the impact, the shells may potentially break.
  • Stir fry clams till the shells open. Add ½ portion parsley and give it a quick stir for 1 minute. Scoop up in a bowl and side aside.
  • Using the same pot, turn down to low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and remaining portion of garlic. Similarly, fry garlic till lightly brown, gently lay the prawns uniformly. Flip over after 1 minute or until the bottom side turns red. When both sides are red, scoop them up, leave garlic and sauce behind.
  • Fill up half the pot with water, add rice vermicelli and boil for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, smash salted egg yolks using the back of the fork. Add them into the pot, mix well. Let it boil for 2 minutes, they will turn into light orange ''pebbles''.
  • Add clams, prawns and spring onions. Season vermicelli with white pepper, shaoxing wine and fish sauce. Give it a quick fry and serve. 

Enjoy!Xx