scallops with Asian spinach and pea purée

Lindsey Bareham

This combination owes a debt to Rowley Leigh’s excellent way of serving quickly fried scallops with pea puree and mint vinaigrette. My variation adds spinach to the puree, with fresh coriander and a red bird’s eye chilli for a snap of southeast Asian flavours. The dish is envisaged as a main course but leftover puree is delicious cold, treated like pesto, dolloped on coriander-tossed rice noodles with prawns and a squeeze of lime.

serves 2, prep 15 min, cook 15 min

150g (5 pieces) frozen spinach
250g frozen petits pois
1 red bird’s eye chilli
10g coriander
16 king scallops, without corals
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely snipped chives
1 lemon

Spread the nuggets of spinach out in a sieve or colander and rest it over a pan of peas while they cook in plenty of salted boiling water. Turn the spinach regularly to encourage defrosting, it should be ready at about the time the peas are cooked. If not, remove the peas with a slotted spoon and continue to suspend the spinach above the water until defrosted. Press the spinach to extract excess liquid. Liquidize the peas and spinach with de-seeded, chopped chilli, roughly chopped coriander and 4 tablespoons of cooking water, more if necessary, to make a thick puree. Transfer to a small pan, quickly re-heat before serving.

To cook the scallops, pat dry and toss in a bowl with the vegetable oil to thoroughly coat. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and when smoking lay out the scallops. Cook for 30 seconds to brown and plump the scallops, turn and repeat. Serve plopped onto the hot puree. Dust with chives and serve with a lemon wedge.