Last Saturday I had the great opportunity to go shopping all by myself - my last trips to the Borough Market had been good, but I really enjoyed being on my own this time. Don't get me wrong, I love company, but with an 8-month-old baby you are a bit restricted in your movements I find. Not all shops are mother-friendly (space-wise) and you either find yourself constrained by a kangaroo pouch strapped to your tummy or you have to be on constant alert to make sure that all those heavy shopping bags you've hung onto your pram don't cause it to collapse or tumble over catapulting the baby onto the floor. I also find it easier to talk shop with knowledgable staff, well, Chris calls it flirting, but really, all I am trying to do here is to get them to open a fresh pack of fillet for me rather than giving me one that's been lying around for a few hours...
On the weekend I went to Harvey Nichol's Food Market for the first time in ages, with the intent to only buy some spices (the Australian promotion is still on and I wanted to buy some of the blends I got to know in the spice workshop with Herbie I attended recently). I went home with two enormous shopping bags full of produce, as I found many things which are not easy to get where I live (fresh truffles, fresh horseradish, jerusalem artichokes, etc) so I devised a whole Saturday dinner out of what caught my eye right there and then.
These scallops stuffed with a sliver of truffle are served on an intensely buttery celeriac purée - another recipe combining the sea and the soil beautifully, just how I like it. If you can't get any fresh truffles, don't go for preserves... rather spend your dosh on a nice lunch out and use some crispy pancetta instead - whichever version you choose, this is melt-in-the-mouth goodness like you wouldn't believe it!
Pan-seared scallops with truffle sliver on celeriac purée
(serves 2 as a starter)
150 g celeriac (diced)
25 g butter
white pepper and sea salt to season
4 scallops1 knob butter
4 slices of fresh black truffle
Cook the celeriac in water for 10 minutes or until very tender. Lift the dice with a slotted spoon and tranfer to a food processor. Blend well, adding the butter, until you have a smooth purée. Season and keep in a warm place.
Clean the scallops and cut a slit in them horizontally, about ¾ of the way. Sear in a pan with some butter, merely to brown them on both sides - no more than a minute or so in total. There's nothing worse than scallops which have been cooked through, so make sure you really just want to warm them through and they remain raw inside!
Fit a truffle sliver in the opening and arrange on a plate with the celeriac mash. Decorate with some balsamic glaze (make your own by reducing down some balsamic vinegar) and serve immediately.