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Scallops with chorizo

There are many ways to cook scallops, but few to beat this. It's one of the best possible expressions of the salty-spicy-pork meets sweet-succulent-shellfish concept so beloved of the Portuguese. If you're cooking this dish in the summer when fresh broad beans are available, blanch some and toss them into the pan at the last moment. Sweet little fresh peas are another delicious addition. To make this a more British dish, you could substitute black pudding for the chorizo. Add 6 torn sage leaves to the pan with the scallops to bring out the flavour of the sausage.


Open the scallops (reserve the frills for bream bait or to make fish stock). If the corals are plump and bright orange, leave them attached to the main muscle. Otherwise add them to the frills for stock. Pat the scallops dry with kitchen paper and set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat, add a little olive oil, then throw in the chorizo and, if you like, a sprinkling of fennel seeds and a few bay leaves. Fry for 3–4 minutes, stirring all the while, as the chorizo releases its salty, spicy fat.

Move the chorizo to one side of the pan. Check that the pan is still really hot, then add the scallops. Leave for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, then carefully turn them over. After another scant minute, using a sharp shake of the pan – or a light stir with a spatula – toss the chorizo and scallops together with all that lovely, flavoursome fat. (This is the moment to add the optional broad beans and/or peas.) Cook for just another minute, tossing and shaking regularly.

Add a twist of pepper, a little bit of salt (the chorizo is already pretty salty) and a few drops of lemon juice, then divide the mixture between warmed plates and serve straight away, with bread and a green salad – for which the oil from the pan, with a few more drops of lemon juice, will make a sublime dressing.

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  • 12 large, hand-dived scallops
  • Olive oil
  • 250g fairly hot cooking chorizo, cut into 1–2cm thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Few bay leaves (optional)
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional extras:

  • Baby broad beans and/or garden peas, podded and blanched for 2 minutes

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Fish