Scallops are super-quick to prepare and cook, making them an ideal starter.
Their delicate, slightly-sweet flavour mean they're great paired with stronger flavours: for example, salty bacon/pancetta, spicy chorizo or black pudding. They also pair well with tomatoes and other seafood, like prawns.
Scallops work well with a wide variation of different sauces and purees. A classic is a creamy cauliflower puree or a pea puree. Spicy curry or creamy Thai flavours can bring a different element of the scallops to light. Or why not go French and serve with a simple and clean sauce vierge ("virgin sauce") made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomato and chopped basil?
Link to video (courtesy of bbcgoodfood.com)
1) Bring the scallops out of the fridge to remove the chill from them before cooking
2) Carefully remove the coral-coloured roe and muscle that attaches the scallop to the shell
3) Season the scallops with salt & pepper prior to cooking
4) Get your frying pan piping hot to achieve that essential sear
5) You can either drizzle a little oil in the pan or, if planning to serve with chorizo, cook the chorizo in the pan first so it releases its delicious spicy red oil (remove the chorizo before cooking the scallops)
6) Cook for about 1 minute then turn and cook for 30 seconds more - you know they're ready to turn once they have a lovely sear on one side - a palette knife is useful to turn them over quickly
7) Add a squeeze of lemon to the pan at the end of cooking, just before you serve