Pan-fried Scallops with Crisp Prosciutto, Asparagus and Herby Salsa Verde

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If you have a good local fishmonger, there’s nothing more impressive than sweet, pan-fried fresh scallops as a main or as an appetizer. I love the Chinese style of cooking scallops, steamed in bamboo baskets with a dash of soy and ginger dressing – very minimalist, very delicious. However, for the East-West theme, I thought to try pan-fried scallops with crispy prosciutto, blanched asparagus and salsa verde on the side. The asparagus and the salsa provide a delicate herby accompaniment and the prosciutto delivers an unforgettable smoky flavor and texture.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 baby asparagus spears
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 scallops, cleaned, debearded, coral removed if preferred, washed and dried on paper towels
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Herby Salsa Verde

  • bunch of cilantro
  • bunch of mint
  • bunch of basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Method

  1. Blanch the asparagus in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. Blitz all the ingredients for the salsa in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large flat-bottomed pan and add the olive oil. Season the scallops with a little salt and freshly cracked black pepper and cook on one side until they start to turn opaque white. Use a metal spatula to turn them over and cook for about 2 minutes – they should be browned on both sides.
  4. Place the prosciutto slices in the side of the pan; they will crisp in no time. Reduce the heat but leave the pan on the burner.
  5. Refresh the asparagus with boiling water and drain. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Divide the spears between 2 plates, add a layer of crisp prosciutto and place the scallops on top. Drizzle some of the herby salsa around the edges of the plate and serve immediately.

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