How to make the perfect Scallop Nicoise Salad
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves four people
There are some ingredients in the world which just exude elegance and theatricality. Scallops are surely one of them - a real jewel of the ocean, all soft sweetness and slight fishy tang. They aren’t the cheapest of shellfish, but once tried, they’ll have you coming back for more and more.
This dish takes the classic Nicoise salad, a favourite of ladies who lunch and a stunning dish to eat with friends on a hot day, and ups the ante with the inclusion of scallops and a couple of other fine ingredients. This is a dish for sharing, for savouring, and for eating alongside a fine wine in the sunshine. What could be finer?
What you'll need:
- Four new potatoes (small ones), sliced and blanched
- Eight halved sweet cherry tomatoes
- A quarter of a red, yellow, green and orange bell pepper, cut into small diamonds
- Eight capers
- Eight black olives (or green, if you prefer)
- A hundred grams of blanched green beans or similar
- One tablespoon of oil
- Ten to twelve fresh scallops
- A knob of butter
- Two hundred grams of salad leaves (I find watercress works well)
- Two soft boiled eggs (if you want to be really fancy, use four quail’s eggs)
What you'll need for the dressing:
- One hundred millilitres of natural yoghurt
- Some chopped chives
- Salt and Pepper
On a gentle heat, lightly fry your potatoes, peppers, capers, olives, green beans and tomatoes until heated through in the oil. Let them colour lightly, then remove from the pan and keep to one side.
Gently fry your scallops in a non-stick pan. These need to be cooked just until they turn a nice golden colour on each side - really, just for a couple of minutes. Add your butter half way through and toss in the melted butter.
Make the dressing by combining the ingredients, and seasoning to taste.
Construct your salad by placing the leaves in a large bowl or serving plate, on top of which place the halved eggs, and then the vegetables before topping with the scallops. Garnish liberally with your dressing, then serve.
Wine pairing for Scallop Nicoise Salad
Scallops and wine are a pairing made in paradise. The gentle flavour of the scallops requires a light touch, though, so you’ll want a soft white wine which balances nicely with the delicate shellfish and doesn’t overpower them. This is a sunny, outdoor dish of subtlety and class, and we need to choose a wine which reflects this, too.
For us, nothing goes with scallops quite as well as Chenin Blanc. This wine has a softness and roundness that makes it delicious with shellfish - French versions are rich, with orchard fruit flavours, while Australian Chenin Blancs have a ‘tutti frutti’ quality that make them a brilliant pairing with light, fresh salads and salty fish.
There you have it -- a sunny, outdoorsy twist on your classic Nicoise Salad!
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