scallops with butter, garlic and parsley

i love scallops. though i do worry whether we should be eating them at all as some are caught by dredging the sea bed which kills just about everything on it. this is the simplest way of cooking them, and the best, in my opinion. anything else detracts from their flavour. (though, having said that, we did make a mean dish of pan-fried scallops with a pure of jerusalem artichokes and chunks of black pudding as a christmas dinner starter.)

the recipe is nigel slater's - his was one of the first cookery books i bought, and i think it taught me how to cook more than any other. i used to stop at his picture of scallops in a pool of foamy butter and salivate. the page is covered by oily stains and dried flecks of parsley.

there's something about only using a few ingredients to create a perfect dish. and, of course, there is definitely something about using this much butter. you can make it with olive oil if you're scared of butter - and you shouldn't be but that's another story - but you'd be missing a trick.

nigel slater calls this a solitary supper for one. but we've made it lots of times over the years, usually as an indulgent saturday night in starter for two. a getting-older-i-can-afford-scallops-and-nice-wine kind of a thing.

very nice with fresh crusty bread if you eat that kind of thing.

for two

6 or 8 scallops, depending on how greedy you are and what you can afford. make sure they're fresh
2 cloves of garlic
a handful of parsley
50g butter (a couple of thick slices)

heat a non-stick frying pan. season the scallops on both side. melt the butter in a pan, wait until it's stopped sizzling, then put the scallops in. leave them for 2 minutes, undisturbed. turn and cook for another minutes or less. take them out and put them on a warm plate.

discard any butter left and wipe the pan with the kitchen paper. add the second slab of butter and, when melted, put the garlic and the parsley in. don't burn the garlic or it will go bitter. you're just looking to get the flavours together and cook the garlic a little.

pour over the scallops.


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