Seared Scallops, Pea & fennel Puree, Crispy Pancetta
The crispy pancetta and pea & fennel purée can be made in advance for this starter.
To make the purée finely dice the bulb of fennel leaving out the stalk and sweat off in a knob of butter until softened but not coloured, then pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the peas for about 1 minute, remove from the heat and place the peas and fennel into a liquidiser using a slotted spoon and add just enough stock to bind. When you’re happy with the consistency pass through a sieve and check for seasoning.
For the crispy pancetta lay the slices onto a piece of parchment paper and place onto a baking tray, then place another sheet of parchment on top and sandwich inbetween another baking tray. Place this in the oven for 15 minutes at 160C, remove the baking tray and parchment and place back in the oven and keep checking until the pancetta feels crispy to touch. Remove from the oven and place the pancetta onto a wire rack to cool.
To cook the scallops simply heat some oil in a sauté or frying pan. When the pan is very hot carefully place the scallops in the oil, leave for a good 30-40 seconds to get a good golden colour on them and then turn over and cook to your liking.
To plate up reheat the pea & fennel purée, put three spoonfuls in a line on the plate and place the scallops on top of the purée. Scatter the pancetta and fresh herbs and finish with a nice drizzle of lemon oil (optional).