This is an unusual and interesting combination; the scallops and the rhubarb perfectly complement each other. The early forced rhubarb is best for this dish as it has a milder flavour and retains its delicate pink colour when cooked. This dish has always been a favourite at the restaurant with our customers, as well as with myself.
Cut 64 4 cm/1½ inch long by 5 mm/¼ inch thick batons of rhubarb. Bring the syrup to the boil, drop in the batons and stir in well, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Drain the batons and save the syrup. Roughly cut up the remaining rhubarb and poach in the saved syrup until cooked. Purée this and pass through muslin or a fine strainer – the resulting juice should be quite thick and still pink.
Shell, trim and wash the scallops, and dry well. Cut the white meat across into halves, leaving the roe attached to one half. Gently heat the oil and 15 g/½ oz of the butter in a frying pan, season the scallops and sauté in the fat for about 1½ minutes each side. Remove, drain and keep warm. Reduce the fish stock until syrupy, then add the rhubarb purée and bring to the boil. When boiling, remove from the heat and gradually add the butter in 1 cm/½ inch pieces to the sauce, whisking until all the butter has melted.
Reheat the scallops by placing them in a hot oven (200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6) for about 1 minute with the batons of rhubarb. Divide the sauce out equally between the plates and arrange the scallops and batons of rhubarb on the sauce, saving 8 batons as garnish for each plate. Arrange these attractively around the sauce and sprinkle with the chervil.
Note Be careful not to overcook the scallops, which is extremely easy to do as they require very little cooking. If they are overcooked, they will shrink and become quite tough. The cooking of the rhubarb batons is also quite crucial as these do need very little cooking and will easily overcook.
© 1989 Ian McAndrew. All rights reserved.