#437 Michael Ryan’s Warm Scallop Salad

Hello folks, sorry for being away for so long; I really did not mean to be absent all this time. I shall be posting a little more regularly over the next few months – I promise!

This is the last of five scallop dishes and the final recipe in the Shellfish section of the book. The recipe comes from Irish chef Michael Ryan, who at the time of writing the book in the 1970s, was head chef at Arbetus Lodge, Cork, Ireland. Ryan was head chef there right up to the 1990s. He is still going strong as head chef at renowned restaurant The Provenance in Victoria, Australia.

Chef Michael Ryan (traveller.com)

I don’t know why I’ve left this recipe so long because it’s very quick and simple to make: just grilled scallops and a simple sauce. It puts excellent use to the delicious corals of the scallops too – a part so often discarded – by flavouring the hollandaise sauce with them.

For four people, you will need eight scallops. Remove their corals and cut away any sinewy parts, then slice the scallops as thinly as you can so that you end up with lots of discs.

Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with a teaspoon each of white wine and white wine vinegar. Season very well with salt and pepper and brush over four scallop shells; try to get the flat side of the shells, but don’t worry if you can only get hold of the curved side. If you can’t find any shells, you can brush a circle of the oil mixture over a small heatproof plate.

Arrange the discs in overlapping circles, not unlike the potato slices on the top of a Lancashire Hotpot. I had some of the oil mixture left so I brushed the top of the scallops with it. Set aside (or pop in the fridge for later). Turn your grill to its maximum setting and when very hot, slip the scallops underneath and cook for just two or three minutes – just time for them to go a little opaque.

As you wait for the grill to heat, make the sauce: have ready a quarter of a pint of hollandaise sauce (Jane’s method for making it can be found on this post here) and push the corals through a sieve into it. If making a hollandaise sauce seems a little daunting, you can buy it in jars these days. Stir the corals through and that is it! Very simple.

Arrange some salad leaves – I used rocket – on four serving dishes, place the scallops on top, and spoon the sauce into little ramekins. Eat immediately.

#437 Michael Ryan’s Warm Scallop Salad. In enjoyed this very much. Very simple to make and very few ingredients, ensuring the sweetness of the shellfish comes through first and foremost. Including the usually maligned corals in the hollandaise sauce is a genius idea – it looks so appetising and tastes surprisingly fresh and sweet for a butter sauce. The only changes I would make would be with the presentation: I would partially cover the scallops with the hollandaise and grill it again briefly. A very good dish though. 8/10

#421 Scallops with Cheese Sauce

This is a Manx recipe, and Manx recipes have not gone down too well in the past (#390 Isle of Man Herring Pie) stands out as particularly bad, but this one sounded pretty promising. Fish and cheese don’t always work well together, but there are those outstanding exceptions such as cod or lobster with mornay sauce, so there’s hope.
This recipe comes from Suzanne Woolley’s book My Grandmother’s Cookery Book, 50 Manx Recipes, and according to her, scallops are called tanrogen, which actually was ‘the name given to the scallop shell when it was filled with cod oil to provide a lamp for the fishermen. A rush which quickly soaked up the oil, was used for the wick’. I absolutely love happening upon these little forgotten glimpses of past lives. I might even give this it a go, though I might use a different oil…
In Ms Woolley’s grandmother’s day scallops were obviously ten a penny as this recipe requires 18 scallops for six people. As I couldn’t get a remortgage, I just bought enough scallops for a couple of people and adjusted the amounts accordingly.
A smiling scallop with its many tiny black eyes (from divernet.com)

When you go to the fishmonger to collect your eighteen scallops, first check that have been sustainably caught (if they have not, go to another fishmongers), then buy six scallop shells. Make sure you get the concave sides to the shells and not the flat sides.

Trim away any untidy parts to the scallops and remove the corals, setting them to one side. Slice each scallop in half so that there are 36 discs in all.
Next, add to a wide pan a quarter of a pint of fish stock, a quartered onion, a bay leaf and some salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, add the scallops and allow to tick away very gently for five minutes, then add the corals and simmer for a further five minutes.
Towards the end of the cooking time, make a sauce by melting an ounce of butterin a saucepan and stirring in an ounce of flourto make a roux. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Strain away the scallop cooking liquor and beat it into the roux. Keep the scallops warm. Make the sauce a little less thick by adding a little milk. Simmer for ten minutes and then add an ounce of grated Cheddar cheese and a couple of tablespoons of double cream. Check the seasoning, adding more cream if you like.
Arrange six halves of scallop into each scallop shell along with three corals and pour the sauce over each one. Sprinkle each with a little more grated Cheddar and brown very well under the grill.
Jane suggests piping the edges of the shells with mashed potato or lining the shells with pastry and baking them beforehand. I did neither and simply ate mine with crusty bread.
#421 Scallops with Cheese Sauce. At last, a Manx recipe I liked! It had to happen at some point, I suppose. It worked just as well as I thought it would; lovely tender-sweet scallops in a sharp and creamy sauce. The only thing I could think of to improve it would be to add some breadcrumbs fried in butter to the cheese before grilling to add some texture. I made the sauce a little too thin, but that’s easily remedied 8/10.

#392 Scallops Stewed with Orange Sauce

This is a recipe that comes from the 18thCentury that unusually combines shellfish with orange – in particular the Seville orange and this is the final recipe in the book that uses them. It’s been interesting to see the diverse recipes for these bitter oranges that I used to think were used solely for making marmalade. Now that I appreciate such things, I was looking forward to this one.
If you are not a fan of shellfish, Jane says that white fish such as sole and whiting can be substituted quite easily.
This recipe serves 6 people, but it can be easily scaled up or down.
Although it’s not mentioned, use the corals in this recipe too. 
Waste not, want not!
To start, simmer together ¼ pint each of water and dry white wine along with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon of ground mace and 2 clovesin a saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes or so. You have essentially made a very simple court bouillon. Season the water with salt and pepper, and then prepare your scallops. Cut 18 scallops in half lengthways and pop them into the water. The scallops need poached only briefly in just simmering water. I left mine in for 2 minutes only, though I reckon 90 seconds might have been better.
Quickly, fish out your scallops with a slotted spoon and keep them warm and covered. Strain the stock and reduce it to a volume of around 8 fluid ounces. Whilst you wait for that to happen, make a beurre manié by mashing together ½ ounce of softened butter with a tablespoon of flour.
When the stock has reduced, turn down the heat to a simmer and whisk in small knobs of the butter-flour mash to thicken the sauce. Let the sauce simmer without boiling for a few minutes to cook out the flour and then add the juice of a Seville orange (failing that the juice of a regular orange and the juice of half a lemon). Check the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. If you want a richer, more luxuriant, sauce beat in an egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cream. For some reason I added some parsley to the dish, though it doesn’t say so in the recipe.
Place scallops in a bowl, pour over the sauce and serve straight away. Jane suggests serving the scallops with #176 Samphire or with #382 Laverbread as a Sauce.
#392Stewed Scallops with Orange Sauce. Intriguing though the recipe was, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I didn’t think the flavour of the oranges and scallops married that well, perhaps because the sauce was rather sharp. I think with some tweaks, however, this could be made a lot better or even reimagined as a scallop and orange salad or something like that. Just below mediocre, 4.5/10.

#281 Scallops with White Wine and Jerusalem Artichokes

If I am going anywhere that is likely to have lots of nice food, I take my copy of now dog-eared English Food along with me in case there is something I don’t expect to see but is required for a recipe. Central Market, the place where I seem to get most of my ingredients from here in Houston, almost always has something unexpected I can use. Today was no exception: I was shopping for some pie ingredients, but also came across some nice Jerusalem artichokes. A quick flick through the book and I found this recipe that combines them with one of my favorite items of seafood, scallops. I was in the mood for treating myself, so I thought this would be a great late lunch dish prefect for these warm days in Houston.
This recipe isn’t one of Jane Grigson’s herself, but from one of her contemporaries and friends Joyce Molyneux, who owned a restaurant called The Carved Angel in Dartmouth. Ms Molyneux adapted the recipe from a recipe she saw for scallop and Jerusalem soup in a book called Four Seasons Cookery Book by a certain Margaret Costa. It’s funny how recipes get changed and passed around, constantly evolving into different dishes.
To make a lunch for four you will need eight large scallops. Remove the corals (should they still be on) and reserve them and cut each scallop into five or six discs. Now trim about twelve ounces of Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into thin matchsticks (keeping trimmings for soup, Griggers says). Fry them gently in two ounces of butter and when nearly tender – about ten minutes – add the scallop discs and four tablespoons of dry white wine. Season with a little salt and pepper. After a minute, add the corals and cook for another two minutes. Don’t overcook – they will become like rubber. Arrange the scallops and artichokes on a warm plate and concentrate any remaining juices, seasoning with more salt and pepper if you like plus some lemon juice. Finally, stir in some chopped parsley and pour over the scallops. I served them with some nice buttered sourdough bread, thinly sliced.
#281 Scallops with White Wine and Jerusalem Artichokes. I loved this. One of the best recipes I’ve done in a while. The earthy artichokes worked so well with the sweet scallops, plus the wine, lemon and parsley really made the whole thing wonderfully fresh tasting. Mopping up the sauce with the bread was the perfect finish. Excellent. 9.5/10.

#111 Jerusalem Artichoke and Shellfish Salad

With the Jerusalem artichokes I bought in Unicorn, I thought I’d do Butters and I a nice swish, yet healthy, salad. For some reason this salad is in the Vegetables chapter; I didn’t realise that prawns and scallops were in the vegetable kingdom. But there you go. Facetiousness aside, I love shellfish and certainly don’t cook enough of it. I particularly like scallops – they’re so pricey though; a fiver for three line-caught ones! (I’d feel too guilty buying the dredged-up ones.)


These amounts make enough for two as a main course, or 4 for a starter or side dish:

Start off by boiling 4 large Jerusalem artichokes in their skins in boiling salted water along with a2 tablespoons of lemon juice. When tender, peel the skin off with your fingers and cut them in neat slices and put in a dish. Mix together 4 tablespoons of vegetable or hazelnut oil with 1 to 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Season it well and pour over the still warm artichokes. Give them a gentle stir and allow to cool. Gently grill three scallops that have been brushed with a little oil – just a couple of minutes per side until they have firmed up. Stab them with a skewer if you’re worried they’re not hot all the way through. Allow them to cool and cut in half, then slice down to make thin semi-circles. Next, peel four large cooked prawns, leaving the heads on for presentation purposes. Finally, arrange some watercress in bowls and artistically place the Jerusalem artichokes and scallops on top of the leaves and scatter with chopped coriander and a tablespoon of chopped roasted hazelnuts; and then place the expertly peeled prawns on top of those.

#111 Jerusalem Artichoke and Shellfish Salad – 6/10. A tasty salad, that really brought out the earthy flavour of Jerusalem artichokes. However, the subtle sweet flavour of the scallops was lost, which was a bit of a shame. I reckon you could make it without them and still have a good dish.