Seared sea scallops with native coastal greens

Photo: Daniel Mahon

Serves 8

Seafoods offer the most potential for creative cookery. The sea provides a vast array of textures and flavours, which lend themselves to multiple cooking techniques, from pan-roasting to gentle poaching in butter or stock, baking in salt and seaweed, steaming and searing. And combinations of accompanying flavours offer almost endless possibilities too. However, it is the subtlety and gentle nature of the flavour and texture of seafood that speaks to me as a chef.

Ingredients

Rottnest Island scallops
16 x large Rottnest Island scallops (or Queensland sea scallops)
50ml grapeseed oil
sea salt

Oyster crackling
24 Sydney rock oysters
500g maple wood chips
100ml white soy
1L grapeseed oil for deep frying

Anchovy, oyster and roasted seaweed butter
100ml grapeseed oil
2 sheets of compressed, layered Korean kombu
10ml anchovy brining liquid
150g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Reserved oyster halves from above

Native coastal greens
100g Barilla (native Kurong spinach)
150g Karkulla (sea succulent)
100g Munyeroo (native pursalane)
50g native sea parsley
50g butter, melted

Method

Oyster crackling
Set up a cold smoking apparatus. Shuck the oysters and place the oyster flesh on a perforated tray to fit the smoker.
Cold smoke the oysters for 90 minutes. Cut the oysters in half lengthways and brush them with the white soy. Place on a sheet of silicone paper and place in a low 50C oven and dry until the oysters become like leather – approximately 4-5 hours.
Set aside 24 of the oyster halves for the roasted seaweed butter.
Heat the grapeseed oil to 170C and deep fry the remaining oyster halves until slightly puffed and crisp. Drain, cool and store in an airtight container until required.

Anchovy, oyster and roasted seaweed butter
Fry the 2 sheets of Kombu in grapeseed oil in a large frypan over med high heat until golden brown. Drain well. Cool and crumble with your hands until you have even fine flakes.
Roughly chop the reserved oyster halves.
Keep all ingredients at hand until ready to finish the dish.

Native coastal greens
Pick through native greens, keeping only the small tips and leaves – discard any larger leaves and stems. Wash well, drain and set aside until required.

To finish and serve
Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan, add the crumbled kombu, roughly chopped reserved smoked and dried oysters, lemon juice and anchovy brine. Mix well and keep warm.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and heat a non-stick fry pan.
Add the grapeseed oil to the non-stick fry pan and sear the scallops for 30 seconds on both sides making sure the pan is very hot to caramelize the scallops quickly.
Place the scallops on to a warm plate and allow to rest for a minute.
In the meantime, blanch the native greens in the boiling water for just 15 seconds. Remove and drain then brush with melted butter.
In the centre of each warmed entrée plate place 2 sea scallops.
Distribute the native greens evenly over and around the scallops.
Dress the scallops and native greens liberally with the anchovy, oyster and roasted seaweed butter.
Garnish with fried oyster crackling and serve.

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