The sweet succulent seared scallop is beautifully complemented by the fresh yet earthy chilled gazpacho. A surf and turf dish unlike any of the more meaty varieties you might encounter.
This dish is a wonderful appetiser – a dish intended to stimulate the palate and appetite for what is to come. It is equally at home in a multi-course tasting menu, or one in a series of tapas dishes. The sweetness and warmth of the scallop provides a wonderful counterpoint to the cool freshness of the gazpacho. The combination creates a very memorable taste experience.
Gazpacho is a fascinating dish. Mostly just blended fresh vegetables, the whole is so much more than the some of its parts. An article in The Guardian summarises gazpachos heritage :
The gazpacho is a classic of the genre: refreshing, and full of ripe, summery flavors. Lindsey Bareham‘s description of it as ‘a salad soup’ in A Celebration of Soup is absolutely spot on. It is, essentially, an Andalusian peasant dish designed to stretch cheap ingredients to their absolute limit. Early recipes call only for a mixture of bread, olive oil, garlic, and water. Tomatoes and peppers, imports from the New World, came much later to the party.The Guardian
With a dish like this scallop with gazpacho, so much depends on the quality of the ingredients. The tomatoes and red pepper need to be at that perfect point of ripeness where the sweetness and acidity are in perfect balance. And the cucumber, having that mouth-filling freshness with just a hint of background bitterness. Buy them at the farmers market if you can.
Gazpacho also makes a great sorbet – perfect for a palate cleanser between courses.
Seared scallop with gazpacho
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium red pepper
- 4 shallots peeled and very finely diced
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 stalk celery
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 cup sourdough bread remove crusts and break into small pieces
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp Tabasco or similar fermented hot sauce like Kaitaia Fire from New Zealand
- 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 large scallops
- Sea grapes
- extra virgin olive oil
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
- Using paper towels, make sure the scallops are dry. That helps get a better sear.
- Season scallops with a sprinkling of salt.
- Bring a skillet up to a medium high heat and add a little canola oil.
- Add 4 of the scallops and cook until a brown edge forms – 3 to 4 minutes.
- Flip over and cook for 1 minute more.
- Remove scallops from the skillet and repeat for the other 6.
- In a shallow bowl or high sided plate, arrange 2 scallops in the middle, the more seared side up.
- Pour in gazpacho. Not to much. It should be less than 10mm deep.
- Add a few sea grapes and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.