In this springy starter, sweet, tender scallops are served on top of a bed of samphire. If you’re not familiar with samphire, think of it as a cousin to asparagus—small, knobbly, and always an excellent companion to seafood. A spritz of lemon juice and garnish of micro herbs add additional brightness and the looks to match: this is the kind of dish that goes down well at dinner parties.
PAIR WITH a citrusy gose. Goses originally hail from Leipzig, Germany, and are known both for their sourness and salinity. Here, they bring a refreshing tartness that won’t overwhelm the dish.
THREE BEERS TO TRY: Kereru Brewing Karengose Salty Seaweed Ale (New Zealand); Two Roads x Evil Twin Geyser Gose (US); Wild Beer Co Sleeping Lemons Gose (UK).
¼ cup (30g) whole blanched hazelnuts
6 large scallops
3½ oz (100g) samphire
2 tbsps (30g) unsalted butter
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsps micro herbs (such as basil, sorrel, and mint), to garnish
1. Heat a small skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast, tossing occasionally, for 5–6 minutes or until they are fragrant and golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse until ﬁnely chopped. Set aside.
2. Rinse the scallops (discarding the roe, if you prefer) and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the scallops with sea salt and black pepper.
3. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add a pinch or two of sea salt (keep in mind that the samphire may be quite salty already). Pick through the samphire, discarding any woody pieces, and add to the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the samphire is tender but still has some bite. Drain the samphire, divide between two plates, and grind over some black pepper, to taste.
4. Heat the butter in the skillet over high heat. Once the butter has melted and started to foam, add the scallops and cook for 1½ minutes. Flip the scallops over and cook for a further 1½ minutes, then remove from the skillet. The scallops should have a golden crust on both sides, but be tender in the middle. Place three scallops on top of the samphire on each plate.
5. Add the chopped hazelnuts to the browned butter remaining in the skillet, and stir for 30 seconds over low heat. Spoon the hazelnuts over the samphire and scallops.
6. To ﬁnish, squeeze the lemon half over both plates and top with more freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the micro herbs.
This recipe and pairing is from The Beer Lover’s Table by Claire Bullen and Jen Ferguson. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here!