"The best thing about ‘treat’ ingredients is that they need very little cooking. The finer cuts of meat and the more expensive fish and seafood demand to be treated simply, adorned with minimal seasoning and finished with no more than a quick flash in the pan. After all, if you’ve spent all that money, you deserve to be rewarded with a delicious, low-effort dinner. Scallops are perfect for balmy summer evenings when you can’t face slaving over the hob. They cook in minutes, taste divine and need only a simple salad alongside to let their unique sweet, buttery flavour shine."
This recipe pairs the luxurious seafood with a vibrant mango and avocado salad: perfect bold flavours for summer. Creamy avocado flesh is wonderful with all seafood, and this is no exception, but peppery rocket and sweet mango prevent the dish from cloying. The scallops themselves are seared in a hot pan, resulting in a gorgeous caramelized colour and flavour, then doused with a delicious buttery sauce spiked with chilli (you could also add garlic if you like), lime zest and lime juice. It’s just simple enough to let the scallops shine, but perks up their flavour with some zingy Asian notes, accentuated by a sprinkling of fresh coriander.
I won’t pretend that this isn’t an indulgent meal – after all, scallops are a luxury and you’re basically eating a plate full of butter – but summer is the ideal time to celebrate simple flavours and simple cooking. Go for a run in the sun and then treat yourself to this gorgeous plateful, full of nourishing ingredients but with a little touch of the finer things in life.
First, make the salad. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and dice the flesh. Scoop out into a bowl. Slice the mango into halves, either side of the stone, then criss-cross the flesh with a knife.
Turn the mango half inside out to form a ‘hedgehog’ shape, then slice the flesh off into the bowl. Add the rocket and toss together with half the coriander, a glug of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice and some seasoning. Divide between two plates.
Finely chop the chilli (remove the seeds if you want it less hot). Heat the butter in a frying pan with a splash of oil (this stops it burning).
Season the scallops. Over a medium-high heat, sear the scallops for a couple of minutes in the butter, then add the lime zest and chilli to the butter. Flip the scallops over and cook for another couple of minutes, shaking the pan a little to distribute the chilli throughout the butter.
Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and place on the plates with the salad. Add the remaining lime juice to the chilli butter in the pan and cook for another few seconds, then spoon over the scallops. Scatter with the remaining coriander and serve immediately.