Pan-fried scallops with pea purée, pancetta and almond gremolata

Pan-fried scallops with pea purée, pancetta and almond gremolata

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
12 large scallops in shells
8 thin slices pancetta
1 teaspoon olive oil
knob butter
freshly ground black pepper

For the pea purée

Quantity Ingredient
250ml Chicken and veal stock
1-2 rashers smoked streaky bacon
300g peas
chervil sprigs
1 tablespoon creme fraiche

For the ciabatta and gremolata crumb

Quantity Ingredient
1/4 ciabatta
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
30g blanched almonds
1 garlic clove
1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
small handful chervil sprigs


  1. Prepare the scallops and set aside. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. For the pea purée, put the stock, bacon and peas in a saucepan, add some seasoning and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until the peas are tender, about 3–5 minutes. Drain, reserving the stock, then remove and discard the bacon. Transfer the peas to a blender, add the chervil and blitz with a little of the reserved stock to a smooth, spoonable consistency. Push through a fine sieve, then taste, add the crème fraîche and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
  3. For the gremolata crumb, tear the ciabatta into pieces and toss in a bowl with the olive oil. Spread the ciabatta pieces out in a shallow roasting tin and toast in the oven for 5–10 minutes until golden and crisp, adding the almonds for the last 5 minutes and making sure that they toast but do not burn. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Peel and finely chop the garlic, finely grate the zest from the lemon and finely chop the parsley leaves. Transfer the almonds to a food processor and process to chop coarsely, then add the ciabatta, garlic and lemon zest and pulse to a uniform, coarse crumb. Pulse in a little of the parsley. The mixture should be free flowing and the consistency of couscous. Taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper.
  5. Sandwich the pancetta between 2 lightly oiled baking trays and bake in the oven until crisp.
  6. Reheat the pea purée over a low heat; it should be soft, not stiff, so add a small splash of reserved stock to loosen if necessary.
  7. Heat the 1 teaspoon olive oil and knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat. Season the scallops and cook for 1–2 minutes, depending on size, so that they take on some colour and caramelise a little. Turn and repeat on the second side. The pan must be hot, or the scallops will stew rather than fry.
  8. Spoon the pea purée onto 4 plates and arrange 3 scallops on top. Sprinkle a little gremolata crumb over and around the scallops and place the crisp pancetta across them. Finish with chervil sprigs.


  • Scallops with cauliflower purée and black pudding: Omit the gremolata crumb and replace the pea purée with cauliflower purée. Pan-fry 75 g sliced black pudding until cooked, then crumble it onto a baking sheet and dry in an oven preheated to 170ºC for about 15 minutes. Use the black pudding in place of the gremolata.

    Scallops with Jerusalem artichoke purée and crisps: Replace the pea purée with a Jerusalem artichoke purée. Replace the gremolata with 1 quantity ciabatta and pancetta crumb. Finely slice 2 Jerusalem artichokes and deep-fry to make crisps; use in place of the pancetta.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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