Between the scallops and the pea, you’d think the scallops will win out to be the people’s choice. In this prosciutto-wrapped scallops with pea purée dish, in my mind peas are supposed to be playing second fiddle.
It did not work out that way, however. My husband couldn’t stop eating the pea purée, even though the scallops were impeccable, if you ask me. As a result, I had to make more the next day to feed his craving, in a quest for this naturally sweet pea purée. Honestly, I should take some responsibility since I’m the willing coconspirator. A few days later, my husband came home with a huge bag of frozen peas. Don’t know what to think of it. Perhaps in the event of an emergency, we’ll be assured the green pea supply would not run out. Haha! All for the awesome pea purée, spurring the pea insanity in our household.
Too bad this is the end of the six-month sojourn when we, and fellow IHCC’s participants, cook alongside Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He is an English celebrity chef and television personality who has made a career out of committing to seasonal and ethically produced food. He champions eating more vegetables and making the best out of all our plant ingredients. In addition, his cookbooks and the River Cottage website are filled with down-to-earth, relevant and timeless recipes.
Meanwhile, it feels like I’m just warming up to his style of cooking and his wide-ranging repertoire. I have been cooking more fish and seafood lately, inspired by Hugh. After all, he has dedicated an entire book, River Cottage Fish Book to this important subject of sustainable sourcing and cooking. No surprise, he has become my goto chef for everyday seafood dishes.
Hugh’s version of the recipe uses ham which I substituted with thin slices of prosciutto. I’ve found it easier to wrap a piece of prosciutto around the scallops. The only downside is the need to get bigger and flawless scallops to wrap the meat around. It gets more costly to buy larger-size scallops.
Last words on the pea purée. There is nothing to it because it’s done super fast in a food processor or in a high-speed blender. The secret is to parboil the green peas just enough to take away the rawness. The microwave oven is a quicker way to do it. More important, the garlic is briefly sautéed in a pan until it starts to color and becomes aromatic. Adding butter in the purée is always a good idea. Finally, the fresh mint; it’s indispensable for adding that extra green and refreshing note to the purée. If I can bottle the pea purée, I would. For feeding babies or adults with pea-insanity.
This post is linked to IHCC where we say goodbye and thanks to Hugh for the delicious six months cooking along with him.
Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops with Pea PuréePrint Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen baby peas
- 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- one bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or peanut oil
- 4 large paper-thin slices serrano ham or prosciutto
- 12 scallops
- extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
Make the pea purée: Cook the peas in boiling salt water or in the microwave oven until tender, then drain, reserving the cooking water. Empty the peas into a blender or food processor. Put the oil and garlic in a small pan and allow to sizzle gently for barely a minute until the garlic just begins to color. Pour it into the blender with the peas. Add the butter, mint, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend to a purée, adding a little of the cooking liquid, if necessary, to give a consistency similar to that of coarse hummus. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.
Cook the scallops; I wrapped the prosciutto around the scallop or you can leave them as it is. Put a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the oil. (Add the ham to the pan, if you choose, turning the pieces over in the oil as soon as they start to crisp, then set aside.) Season the scallops and add them to the pan, and cook for about a minute, until golden brown underneath. Turn them over and cook for a minute on the other side.
Transfer the scallops to 4 warm plates, adding a few scraps of ham to each one, if you prepare them separately. Put a good dollop of pea purée next to the scallops, drizzle with a little extra-virgin oil plus juices from the scallop pan. Sprinkle some pepper and serve.
Adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall