Among the delicious bites I had when I was in London, were the small plate of bone marrow and parsley salad with toast that I shared at the bar part of St. John’s Bar and Restaurant and the Borough Market stall where I gobbled up an order of scallops and bacon. This is one of the things I love about traveling, the inspiration that having good food like this gives me in terms of developing my own recipe database. The trick always is, however, to figure out how to recreate these things once you get back home.
Although I ate these items on different days, actually even in different weeks, somehow what came to me was that components of each dish should be paired together in a simple, yet dramatic small bite that would be a perfect appetizer. The creamy, sweet, delicate scallops combined with smokey, hearty bacon needed a foil like the sharp snap of the shallots and herby parsley dressed with tangy vinegar so that the greens balanced out the richness of the seafood and meat. The colors on the plate also give it a dramatic appearance, perfect as a kick-off to a great meal. This will be another recipe I add to my repertoire.
Serving Size: 4 portions of 3 scallops per person Prep Time: about 15 minutes
Ingredients: 1 cup parsley leaves, fairly tightly packed 1 medium shallot, very thinly sliced 3/4 tsp. red wine vinegar 1 pinch salt 1/2 pinch ground black pepper 12 sea scallops 2 Tbsp. flour 1 pinch salt 1/2 pinch ground black pepper 2 strips of bacon, cut cross-wise into 1/8-inch strips
Assembly: Strip leaves off of parsley stems, keeping the leaves as intact as possible, and put in a small bowl. You don’t need to be obsessive about it, but you should try to make sure that you don’t have any big stems in the salad, just leaves. Add the shallot and toss together with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Put bowl aside until ready to put everything together to serve.
Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Put flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Dip the scallops in the flour mixture and coat until covered. Shake off any excess flour and set aside. The flour will encourage the brown crust on the scallops when they are cooked.
Put the bacon in a large skillet and cook until crisp and brown. Remove the bacon from the fat and drain it on a paper towel. Pour off all but a thin film of the bacon fat (please save this in a can and use it for some other cooking purpose). Add the scallops to the hot, greased pan. Take care not to crowd them in the pan, otherwise they will not brown and will steam instead.
When there’s the hint of a brown crust on the bottom of the scallop, it is just about ready to turn over. You can also see how cooked the scallop is by the flesh changing from translucent to milky-white opaque. When it is not quite halfway up the side of the scallop, flip it over. Then, watch carefully to see the ring of the crust forming on the second side.
These should cook about a minute or two on the first side and a bit less on the second side. While the scallops are cooking on the second side, put a quarter of the parsley salad on each of four plates. Remove the scallops from the pan and put three on each plate, next to the salad. Sprinkle the cooked bacon over everything. Serve immediately.
Kitchen Witch Tip: