Scallops with Caramelised Endives

This dish has no sauce other than the drops of caramel which coat the endive. Nor does it need one. Its effect relies on the balance of sweetness from scallops and caramel to sharpness from endives and lime juice.

This can be spoilt by undercooking the caramel, in which case it will be too sweet, or by overcooking, it which makes it bitter. Lift the pan from the heat as the sugar and butter mixture turns nut brown and add the endive before it blackens and starts to smell acrid.

If you are in doubt, then you may stop the caramélisation process with a few drops of water or fish stock before adding the endive.

Ingredients

  • 12 scallops, white part only
  • 2 Belgian endives (chicory)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • ½ oz (15 g) butter
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • groundnut oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. You will need the lemon and lime zest, which is most easily removed with a zesting knife. Failing this, cut the peel from the fruit in long strips; remove all pith, then slice into fine threads. Squeeze the lemons and lime. Pour half the juice into a small saucepan along with 2 fl oz (50 ml) water and the zested peel. Bring this to the boil and let the zest cool in the liquid.
  2. Separate the endives into individual leaves.
  3. Heat the butter and sugar together with three-quarters of the remaining juice. It will caramelise quite quickly. Add the endive, turning the leaves in the caramel. The endive will cook sufficiently in the caramel in the 4 or 5 minutes it takes to finish the dish.
  4. Slice the scallops into three horizontally. Turn them briefly on a plate with a teaspoonful of groundnut oil. Season with plenty of salt and black pepper.
  5. Heat a pan and quickly fry the scallops, about 30 seconds on each side will do. It will be easier to cook them in two batches, three if your pan is small, for it is important that they seal quickly.
  6. Heat enough oil to deep-fry the well-drained zest. Arrange a circle of caramelised endive on each plate. Pile the scallops on top.
  7. Deep-fry the zest for a few seconds, drain and scatter over the scallops. Finish the dish with the remaining drops of juice.
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