This is a quick, easy and elegant scallop dish that would make a perfect dinner party starter. The Salmorejo sauce is the most time consuming part (still only about 10-15 minutes) and should be made the day before and chilled in the fridge to allow the flavours to mix. Salmorejo is a traditional Spanish chilled soup, whose only difference from gazpacho seems to be the omission of onions. Unfortunately, due to the calibre of tomato available in London in early Spring, mine initially turned out a rather sludgy colour as the green pepper was clearly in control of the situation. This was remedied by adding tinned tomato puree, and a small amount of tomato ketchup, which I am fairly sure is a criminal offence in Spain, but which aesthetically did the trick. Mine was made with fresh locally sourced scallops from Rye Bay (which were sold to me with an extensive lecture about the evils of foreign scallops which are apparently pumped full of salt and chemicals to plump them up) so I sliced them horizontally to create two thinner discs, but if you are using pearl scallops, this step can be omitted. This serves 2 as a starter.
- 3 Large scallops, cut into 6 discs
- 3 large plum tomatoes
- 1 green pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon each tomato puree/ketchup (entirely optional)
- 50g chorizo
- Toasted pinenuts (optional)
- Olive oil
- To make the salmorejo, finely chop the tomatoes, pepper, and garlic.
- Mix in a large bowl or pot and blend with a stick blender.
- Add the breadcrumbs, vinegar, paprika and some water and blend further.
- Strain through a sieve, and if necessary add the tomato puree/ketchup to enhance the colour (I feel bad even writing that).
- Add some olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) to taste, store in an airtight container and chill overnight.
- Finely chop the chorizo (after removing the casing) and fry in hot oil, stirring constantly, until quite crispy around 3-5 minutes.
- Leave to cool slightly, then chop and basically bash into crumbs using a sharp and heavy knife.
- Use the chorizo oil to pan fry the scallops with seasoning (this should be around 45 seconds on each side, until the edges have turned golden brown but the middle still has a little bit of bounce if pressed down).
- Serve in a shell or small bowl filled with salmorejo and topped with the chorizo crumbs and toasted pinenuts.