Sautéed Scallop and Fennel Salad

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

More Rhodes Around Britain

More Rhodes Around Britain

By Gary Rhodes

Published 1995

  • About

Scallops are available fresh from many fishmongers, or you may find some good quality scallops frozen.


  • 4 fennel bulbs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 900 ml ( pints) water
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 50–75 g (2–3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 scallops, trimmed and roes removed
  • green salad leaves
  • Basic Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives


Top and tail the fennel. Using a small knife, remove the core from the base of each fennel. Add the lemon juice and star anise to the water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the fennel, cover and simmer over a medium heat for 15–20 minutes until just tender.

Pour off half of the cooking liquor and boil it to reduce to about 150 ml (5 fl oz). This will increase the flavour of the fennel. Add the butter to the liquor and whisk vigorously to make a butter sauce. For an even lighter and smoother sauce, use an electric hand blender to finish. This sauce can be kept warm and re-heated and blitzed before serving.

Slice the fennel 5 mm (¼ in) thick lengthways. Heat a frying-pan and add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Fry the fennel slices on both sides until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

To cook the scallops, heat a frying-pan with a few drops of olive oil and a knob of butter. It is very important to cook scallops in a hot pan. This will colour and seal them quickly. If the pan is only warm, the scallops will begin to poach in their own juices, creating a different texture and taste. Once coloured and seasoned on both sides, the scallops are ready; this should only take 2–3 minutes depending on size.

To serve the dish, lay the fennel slices on the centre of a warmed serving plate and sit the scallops on top. Mix the salad leaves with a little vinaigrette and sit them in the centre of the scallops. Add the chives to the sauce and spoon around the plate.