Scallops with braised lentils, samphire & salsa verde

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I bought the Polpo recipe book a few months ago and aside from a casual flick through every now and again, I haven’t cooked anything from it. It’s probably because I’ve been so obsessed with Israeli, Greek and Turkish food lately. But this week I was told, ‘no more pistachios and feta!’ By my boyfriend, who loves this food as much as I do but has reached a limit. So, I’m branching out. And it’s quite nice!

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This recipe called for cod cheeks, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on these easily, so selected scallops instead. I added pancetta to the lentils to boost the flavour and I’m glad I did – bacon and scallops are a win! Although this combination of lentils, white fish and bacon is a well-known marriage, the reason I selected this recipe was because I was surprised and intrigued by the addition of the salsa verde on top. I don’t know if this is a usual or unusual combo, but it was quite interesting. Acidic and fragrant from the cornichons and different herbs, the salsa cut through the earthy lentils and sweet scallops perfectly. A great addition I’d recommend.

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You will need:

500g puy or green lentils
3 carrots, diced
6-7 shallots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
160g outdoor-bred pancetta, diced
Handful of chopped fresh rosemary
12 fresh scallops
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Large handful of samphire
Knob of butter
Handful of parsley
Handful of basil
Small handful of mint
Splash of white wine vinegar
1 tbspn Dijon mustard
Punch of sugar
1 tbspn capers
1 tbspn chopped cornichons
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

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Method:

1 – Start by cooking the lentils; tip them into a large saucepan and fill it right up with cold water (important – don’t salt the lentils or they won’t soften!)
2 – Bring the lentils to the boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft but with a little bite
3 – Meanwhile, heat some oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta; cook til crisp and add the shallots, celery, carrot and rosemary
4 – While that’s cooking, make your salsa verde; blend the cornichons, basil, mint, parsley, capers, vinegar, mustard, sugar and seasoning with enough olive oil to form a drizzly sauce
5 – Sweat the vegetables until soft and season
6 – Drain the lentils and rinse well before tipping into the pan with the softened vegetables; check seasoning and set aside for now
7 – Now move onto the samphire; heat some oil in a small frying pan and ad the samphire
8 – Cook the samphire for a few minutes, adding a knob of butter and seasoning
9 – Now heat some oil in another pan and add the scallops; cook for a minute on each side, squeezing lemon over the top of the scallops after you’ve flipped them
10 – Dish up the lentils, followed by the samphire and scallops; spoon over the salsa verde and serve immediately

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2 thoughts on “Scallops with braised lentils, samphire & salsa verde

  1. This looks amazing. I’ve never eaten samphire but it’s on my foodie to-do list. Definitely a fine variation from the Israeli/Greek/Middle Eastern food obsession (which I share, by the way… luckily my husband isn’t sick of it yet!). Oh, I wanted to let you know that I just bought Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ after reading so many positive blogger comments about him! I’d never heard of his restaurants but I’m loving the book so far. Definitely want to buy ‘Jerusalem’ next.

    1. Ah thanks – yes samphire is pretty nice, quite naturally salty! It’s expensive though so it’s a rare treat round my house. Persian food will be back on the menu soon I guarantee- I think it’s just a breather! (Hope)
      Great work with the ottolenghi – I look forward to reading some of your recipes from/inspired by the book!

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