Every day this week we’ll be bringing you a special Christmas recipe from Scottish chefs, beginning with Barry and his seasonal starter.
With Christmas celebrations destined to be on a smaller scale this year, it does give us the chance to flex our culinary muscles and try something new.
Chef Barry Bryson, from Fife, is known for his creative cooking skills and love of working with local produce which he puts to good use when offering his services through his business, Cater Edinburgh.
And this year he’s challenging us to rise to the occasion with a Christmas starter that uses some of Scotland’s finest natural produce in the form of fresh scallops, alongside the more traditional chestnuts and bacon that we’re used to tucking into at this time of year.
So if you’re looking to create a special treat for your Christmas ‘bubble’, this recipe could just be the one for you…
Pan-fried scallops, roasted chestnut and mushroom puree, with crispy bacon and pear
- 6 large scallops, roe off (ask your fishmonger for freshly shucked hand-dived scallops ideally)
- 300g closed cup mushrooms, washed and sliced
- Small bag of fresh chestnuts (around 20 or so)
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 175ml vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt flakes for seasoning
- 100g butter
- 75ml double cream
- Handful of fresh green herbs, chopped (I used parsley and tarragon)
- 100g smoked bacon lardons
- 2 pears
- 2 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 25ml honey
- 50g castor sugar
- 1 lemon
First of all start with the puree. This can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Use a sharp knife and score a single criss-cross through the chestnuts shell (but not deep into the nut)
- Lay them flat on a baking tray, pre-heat the oven to 185°C and bake then for 25 to 30 minutes. Take them out, cover them with a clean towel to create a steamy space for them to cool in, then when warm but not hot, peel the shell off them and discard the skin under the shell as you go.
- Next add half the butter to a non-stick pan and soften the garlic in it as it melts, then add the mushrooms and cook them over a fairly high heat until the water comes off them then season them and reduce. Now add your stock and the shelled chestnuts to the pan, add your chopped herbs and salt and simmer for a few minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender/food processor and add the cream and blitz this mix up until nice and smooth. If it’s a little thick add a slash of cold water.
- Finally, using a sieve pass this mix through it using a spatula or wooden spoon to push the puree through the mesh (this will make your puree extra light and remove the grainy aspect).
Next make the pear. Again you can make this part a couple of days ahead if you wish.
- Peel and core the pears, add to a pan of cold water, add the sugar, add the star anise and clove, cut the lemon in two and add both to water, cover the top with a bit of greaseproof paper and simmer the pears gently for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool in the water. When they are cool enough to handle take out the lemon and the anise and cloves and then, in a food processor, blitz the pears with the honey until lovely and smooth and store until use.
Next the bacon.
- In a pan, fry off the bacon lardons until very crispy, remove from pan and use a sharp knife and chop them down into really small crispy bacon crumbs.
- When you are ready to assemble and enjoy the dish, heat the puree gently in a small saucepan or microwave until piping hot, refresh the bacon crumbs by a quick saute.
- Heat a non-stick pan with a little olive oil, then add your scallops and season lightly. Cook on one side for around 60 seconds until nice and golden. Turn only once onto the other side and again cook for around 45 seconds to one minute.
- Drop the other 50g butter into the pan and baste the scallops as it melts and foams. Then lift out and rest them for a few seconds.
- Assemble the dish now by spooning the hot puree onto the plate and add your nice golden scallop into the centre of each spoonful.
- Then finally spoon on the bacon and dot the pear in with that for a nice contrast to each other.
Merry Christmas, stay safe!