There are certain matches made in food heaven and a widely accepted starter staple is pancetta wrapped scallops. I’d only ever eaten these mouthwatering delights in restaurants but was inspired by a luscious ingredient tonight to pan fry them myself and seriously, the flavour was the best ever. I chose six fat specimens from my local fishmongers (not supermarket) along with some fresh samphire, a super posh ingredient which is actually fairly widely available, super easy to prepare and easy peasy to cook.
The trick to this dish, after having cooked it, is perfect wrapping and mine happened completely by accident. For the first time last weekend I ordered from Ocado as I had a voucher to use up. As part of a 3 for 2 on Cooks Ingredients they sent some air dried Pancetta sliced extra thinly…. which I promptly wrapped my washed and dried scallops in, two per scallop. It’s lovely and sticky so when you wrap it round the scallop it binds them in nice and tight. I guess if you have ‘normal’ pancetta you can use cocktail stick to hold them together.
For two of us I flash fried 400g of samphire with sea salt (not too much as it tastes of the sea anyway) and black pepper for 3/4 mins, then I popped it into a bowl into a medium oven whilst I cooked the scallops.
In a decent heavy-weight, non-stick pan with very little oil (as the pancetta crisps up & lets out its fat as it cooks) I cooked the scallops for about 8 minutes, turning them top to bottom and then on their sides to crisp and brown all the way round. If you’re not sure if your scallops are thoroughly cooked, slice one straight down the middle with a sharp knife and take a look, the scallop should be white all the way through and still juicy, but not fleshy and raw looking. Err on the side of caution and risk slightly overcooking the first time if you’re not sure.
Plate up your samphire, no seasoning required and divide up your scallops. No sauce needed. Try them, they taste like mini-dreams 🙂