I swore blindly this day would never come. I have spent my life avoiding fish with such meticulous care you would swear the smell of them would push me into anaphylactic shock. In the past few years, I have managed to gradually acclimatise myself to some shellfish if they were a) deep fried into oblivion or b) served to me by a guy I was trying to impress (I’m not sure if it was this that worked, but something did). I am not sure how, but sometime recently I managed to get talked into scallops, which seem like they would be the sidekick of the obvious fish hater archnemesis, oysters, but somehow managed to be delicious. I realise saying they taste like chicken is cliched, but they do, a little, except much richer, and ok, a little seafoody. I’m not sure who in the world came up with the concept of pairing them with miscellaneous rich pork products (bacon, chorizo, black pudding) but I take my hat off to them, it is an unlikely, and wonderful combination.
This dish was kind of an improvisation, based in part on a Gordon Ramsay scallops + leeks recipe, on a previous seafood +black pudding combination, the fact that I had tarragon and yoghurt in my fridge, and finally, my belief that smoked paprika goes with everything. Fortunately, it worked. I have a sneaking suspicion that black pudding is a UK/Irish thing. It is similar to morcilla and also to boudin (although boudin tends to be softer). If none of these can be sourced, chorizo would be lovely too. Serves 4.
- 12 large scallops (or about 24 little ones, as pictured)
- 4 leeks
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 large slices of black pudding (or 8 of the narrower girthed pudding)
- 3 tablespoons yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Handful chopped, fresh tarragon
- 1 clove garlic
- pinch of cayenne
- Olive oil
- Finely chop the leeks.
- Saute over a medium heat until soft.
- Add the vinegar and sugar and cook down for 3-4 minutes, or until the edges of some pieces are starting to crisp.
- Remove and keep warm.
- To make the dressing mix the yoghurt, paprika, cayenne, garlic and most of the tarragon (leaving a few pieces to sprnkle on top) with a little bit of olive oil and a bit of water to thin it down. Season.
- Cook the black pudding in a little oil in a frying pan as instructed on the pack (usually 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally).
- Remove and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, if using large scallops, slice in half into two thin discs. If using small, cook as is.
- Season the scallops with salt, pepper and a tiny amount of caster sugar.
- Fry in the oil leftover from the black pudding, over a medium heat, one minute on each side (the edges should be golden brown, the scallops still a bit bouncy when pressed).
- Assemble as desired and serve immediately.