Scallops in pastry by celebrity chef Steven Saunders

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WHAT could be nicer than a delicious hand-dived scallop wrapped in buttery pastry and baked in the oven. 

I am not 100 per cent certain where the name of the dish Wellington comes from –  I had assumed that it came from the First Duke of Wellington (UK’s prime minister in 1828) but some say it was a dish served in the town Wellington in New Zealand for a civic reception in that era.

It is one of the most wonderful and most popular dishes to eat, but why should it be beef? You could make a wellington with anything… and so, I did… Scallop wellington!

I googled scallop wellington to see if any other chefs were doing a similar thing. There is one entry but it’s making little puff pastry vol au vents filled with scallops, not the same thing at all and the only other things that come up are scallops from Wellington in New Zealand.

So I’m pretty safe to say that this is my creation!

A few years ago, I ran and operated Brocket Hall in Welwyn Garden City near St Albans, London.

Brocket Hall was the home of the eccentric Lord Brocket who some will remember for his time on ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here!’ Filmed in the Jungle in Australia… Others may remember him for burying his Ferrari collection in his own estate!

Either way, Brocket Hall is steeped in fascinating history.  I was enchanted by Brocket Hall and this prestigious mansion and wanted to know more about the history.

In the grounds, there is a beautiful building called Melbourne Lodge. It was named after Lord Melbourne who was the UK prime minister in 1835. The Duke of Wellington was a colleague and friend of Lord Melbourne’s and Brocket Hall was Lord Melbourne’s designated home.

Lord Melbourne often entertained the Duke of Wellington at Brocket Hall, so it seemed obvious to me that we should make use of the Wellington theme at Brocket Hall.

That is where I started expanding my enthusiasm for this dish by doing venison wellington, sea bass wellington, pork wellington and so on.

At the Little Geranium we are well-known and loved for our tasting menus and currently have a mini wellington of hand-dived scallops as one of the courses.

It has been so incredibly popular.  Clients have said it is one of the best things they have ever eaten and it is easy to prepare.

You will need to find decent sized fresh scallops for this dish which can be prepared in advance so it’s great as a starter at a dinner party.

You simply take the mini wellingtons out of the fridge, brush and glaze the pastry with egg yolk and pop them in a very hot oven for about four minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

The scallop cooks perfectly in the pastry, moist and slightly undercooked snuggled in its crispy pastry coat.

It really is delicious!

To save time you can buy good butter puff pastry here in Spain so it needn’t be a time-consuming dish to prepare. We serve it with a foam made from truffles which is called an air.

This air is made by adding soya lecithin to water and truffle pieces. The soya is a natural product and reacts with the water to create a foamy air.

When you taste the air, it explodes in your mouth with the truffle flavour.

At home, you could make it simpler by avoiding the air and making a sauce from cream and truffle pieces to accompany it or even make a mild mustard cream sauce.

So, if you are wanting to impress a loved one, serve this little delight up as a starter and you will be amazed at the enthusiasm that it receives!

 

Scallop Wellington

 

Recipe serves four

  • 8 x fresh hand-dived scallops
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 300g mixture of mixed or wild mush-

rooms

  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 small onion peeled and chopped
  • 500g pre-made puff pastry (made

with butter)

  • 4 slices of Serrano ham
  • 2 egg yolks for glazing pastry
  • Maldon salt

Method

  • Roughly chop the mushrooms and fry in a hot pan with a little olive oil, the onion and garlic and some seasoning. Continue to cook on a high heat for about five minutes until all the excess moisture has evaporated.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the pan, leave to cool and then blend in a food processor until fine and smooth. This is called a duxelle. Check the seasoning before using.
  • Cut the pastry into small 10cm squares and roll out to 2mm thick if it’s not pre-rolled.
  • Place a small piece of the Serrano ham on top of each square and then add a teaspoon of the duxelle (mushrooms)
  • Seal all the scallops on one side only in a very hot frying pan with a little olive oil. Do not turn them over seal for only 30 seconds and remove from heat and rest.
  • Place the scallop on top of the ham in the centre. Fold the ham over the scallop, then roll the pastry with your hands at the bottom to make a nice round shape. Repeat this step with the other scallops and keep in the fridge until needed.
  • Brush the mini wellingtons all over with the egg yolk.
  • When you are ready to cook the wellingtons, bake in a hot preheated oven on a baking tray lined with a little oil (to stop them sticking) at 225ºC for four minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Rest for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt.
Chef Steven and Michelle

Follow Steven on Instagram ….@saunderschef

The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020

www.thelittlegeranium.com   For bookings: Michele@thelittlegeranium.com

Published by
Damon Mitchell

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