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Good health

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scallops in shellsHow’s the healthy January thing going? This week is usually where the wheels fall off the fitness wagon for me, not helped by all the snow. Just too dangerous to drive to the gym!

Fortunately, MS’s resident bespoke chef Paul Collins has delivered this little seafood delight to remind me to be a good girl. Decadent, certainly, but also an offering of rude healthy. Maybe I’ll make it until the end of the month after all.


Hand-dived scallops with carrot and fennel

scallops plate landscapeI always use hand dived scallops off the north coast of Scotland. It can be very hit and miss at this time of year as the divers are at the whim of the weather – too rough and won’t dive.

Scallops that are dredged should be avoided as they do colossal amounts of damage to the seabeds around our coasts. At least a diver can only take what he can see and carry!

I’ve included raw carrots and fennel and the pea shoots, all healthy and wholesome after the excesses of Christmas.

It’s a simple dish to put together and from start to finish should take no longer than 15 minutes to prepare and cook, which is the best way to enjoy food!

Ingredients: For Two

5 hand-dived scallops
1 carrot
1 fennel
A few pea shoots
4 tbsp olive oil


1. Have your fishmonger remove the scallops from their shells and clean them ready for you. If you are buying the meat alone, look for nice firm dry scallops. Scallops that feel wet and flabby indicate they may have been frozen or that they are old.

2. Dice the carrots in to a very small dice and place in to a bowl, season with sea salt and pepper and add 2 tbsp olive oil to bind them. Once you’re happy with the taste, place the carrots in a pastry ring (or anything else that’s robust and round) to create a neat circular shape for the carrots in the centre of your serving plates.

3. Slice the fennel very thinly with a sharp knife or Japanese mandolin. (If you don’t have a mandolin I recommend you buy one – I find them indispensable, ideal for thin slicing for dishes like dauphinoise. One word of warning though – always use the safety guard!).

4. Keep the fennel in cold water until required.

5. Cut your scallops in half, place on a plate and season with sea salt and pepper.

6. Place a large non-stick pan on the stove and allow to get hot. Once it is hot, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the scallops to the hot pan, leave for 30 seconds then turn over, cook for a further 30 seconds then squeeze over with a wedge of lemon, remove the scallops from the pan and place on a warm plate.

7. Now it is just a question of dressing the dish. Place the scallops around the carrot dice and one on the top, remove the fennel from the water and drain, dress with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place that over the scallops and around the plate.

8. Finish by adding the pea shoots over the top of the fennel. Drizzle the remaining olive oil around the outside and serve immediately. Tel: 07774866902/01844 279461.

Photo courtesy of Tory McTernan


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