Don’t just save scallops for fancy restaurants, they’re really easy to cook – and more than 80 percent super lean protein packing, and a good source of both magnesium and potassium. Unfortunately they really are the sort of thing you need to source from your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter, as it’s the big ones you want not the weeny little things you get in packets – and best to eat them within 24 hours of purchase. As they’re expensive I bulked out the recipe with some tofu as well as the quinoa which again is a great source of protein.
Ingredients (for two)
6 large fresh scallops – trimmed, patted dry and out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so before cooking so they’re at room temperature
Teaspoon miso paste
Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cup of quinoa
Half a chicken stock cube plus a bay leaf
Mange tout or green beans, trimmed, or sprouting broccoli
Red pepper- thinly sliced
Spring onions – chopped
Small packet of smoked tofu – excess water squeezed out with kitchen roll, then roughly crumbled
Fresh ginger or ginger paste
Lee Kum Kee Chilli Bean Sauce (Tobjan Djan)
Fresh coriander – stems removed, leaves roughly picked.
Two fresh limes, halved
Sea salt / seasoning
Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve and shake off the excess water. Put into a small saucepan with just under twice the volume of water – i.e. whatever cup size you use (I have a small cup that’s about the same as an American “Cup” measure), put just under two cups of water in the pan. Crumble in half a stock cube, the bayleaf and a few drops of olive oil. Bring to a boil and then put a lid on top and put on the gentlest simmer. It’ll take around 15 minutes to cook, after which you can stir with a fork and leave the lid on top, off the heat, for the final steam to be absorbed. Same technique works with basmati rice by the way, for perfect and extra tasty rice every time.
Whilst that’s cooking, parboil the baby corn, mange tout, green beans or broccoli – put them in a pan, cover with just enough cold water to cover, bring to boil then straight away drain in a colander, return to the pan with cold water and some ice cubes to stop the cooking process and maximise nutrition. After a few minutes cooling, drain and pop to one side.
Create a mini marinade for the scallops – a few drops of sesame oil, the miso, lemon juice and maybe a dash of soy or tamari to loosen it. Pop the scallops in – they only need a few minutes, more of a coating than a marinade.
Now it’s time to get cracking! Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan or wok, and once hot add the spring onion and red pepper for a few minutes. Add a spoon or two of the chilli bean paste and some ginger, and also some garlic if you fancy. Turn the heat down and stir to bring out the flavours.
Add the crumbled tofu, parboiled vegetables and squeeze in the juice of a lime and give a good stir to warm through.
Put a separate small frying pan onto a medium heat with a teaspoon or so of olive oil.
Whilst that’s warming up, put as much quinoa as you fancy into the stir fry mix. I saved some for future salads, but depends how hungry you are!
Pop the scallops in the pan carefully one at a time in a circle – careful they will likely sizzle and spit in the hot pan. By the time you’ve placed the last scallop – around 30 seconds or so – you’ll be ready to start turning the first one. It should be nicely browned and slightly caramelised, if not wait for 10-15 seconds or so before continuing. Cook for around the same time on the other side before removing the pan from the heat. It’s a bit of a judgement call here as depends on how thick they are, but they should need more than a minute on each side so long as the pan is nice and hot.
Mix through the fresh coriander in the stir fry mix, retaining some for garnish. Pop the scallops on top. Garnish and serve with half a lime each to squeeze over.