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Scallop tartare with autumn flavours - Sat, 29th May 2010
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This was an experiment that actually worked. The tartare is a classic French recipe, the rest simply flavours that I wanted to try with it. As it turned out, it's a really fun dish to make, but more fun to eat - combining your own flavour combinations leads to interesting dinner conversation! Serves 4 as an entree.

  150gm very fresh scallops 2 large potatoes, peeled boiled and mashed.
  small handful flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped (chiffonade) Olive oil
  1 tbsb white balsamic vinegar Juice of 1 lemon
  200gm prosciutto 4 zuccini flowers attached to the baby zuccini
  4 small bocconcini small jar salmon roe
  bunch of dutch (baby) carrots, purple if available 8 edible (pesticide free) rose petals
  1 clove confit garlic 1/2 ripe avocado, diced and drizzled with lemon juice
  Baby basil leaves (buy a plant, and use the small leaves near the base) white truffle oil
  1/4 cauliflower  

The dish consists of several parts: Scallop tartare, cauliflower puree, prosciutto 'sand', stuffed zuccini flowers, roe, rose, carrots and avocado. Once all the parts are made, it's quite fun to get creative with the plating - think of it like food-painting!

On a clean surface, slice the scallops very thin and put in a sterilised bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, lemon juice and a good grind of salt and pepper. Refridgerate for 4 hours, and they're ready.

Blanch the carrots in boiling salted water for a minute or so, until just tender. The carrots I used were very thin, so adjust the time accordingly. Rinse under cold water, slipping the skins off the outside of the carrots as you do. Set aside until serving time.

Roughly chop the cauliflower and boil in salted water until tender. Drain and put in a blender with the confit garlic. (Note: when I did this, I accidentally added raw garlic by mistake. Although that ruined what I was trying to do, I added fresh cream to tone it down and bit and it actually worked really well as a small dollop of horseraddish-like paste on the plate, and added a real kick to the dish. As long as you don't add a lot - no shmears - it can be an interesting way to go.) Blend until smooth, then add about a tbsp of white truffle oil and blend again. Taste and add salt as necessary. Cream is also an option for a richer finish. Once cooled, pour into a squeeze bottle for doing fun things with presentation.

Carefully remove the stamen from the inside of the zuccini flower - I find it easiest to open the flower on one side, thereby allowing your knife inside and under the stamen. Insert a bocconcini into the flower where the stamen was, and wrap up, twisting the end to keep it closed. Place in a steamer with the cut side facing up so the cheese stays inside when it melts. Set aside until about 5 minutes before serving.

Place the prosciutto on a rack under a hot grill and grill until very crispy. Remove from grill and let cool on the rack or on kitchen paper to absorb the fat. Once cool, crumble into 'sand' - you may need to chop things a bit to get it finer.

The last parts (roe, rose, and avocado) go on the plate as they are. You can plate it any way you like, but here's how I did it. I'd made a very strong garlicky puree, so I piped two small dollops and a thin line of it across the plate. Then I added a couple of carrots, a couple of small piles of scallop and a little pyramid of 'sand'. While I was plating these, the zuccini were in the steamer, so I added them next, straight from the steamer. A teaspoon of roe on each plate, a couple of pieces of avocado and a couple of rose petals and baby basil leaves finished it off. Drizzle over a little olive oil and a quick grind of pepper, if desired.

26th Apr 2018

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