Scallops with Thai-Scented Pea Puree
- 1 pound (3 1/2 cups) frozen petits pois or peas
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 2 teaspoons peanut or other flavourless oil
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 6 big scallops (such as sold in shell by fishmongers) or 10 to 12 small bay scallops (such as sold in packages in the supermarket), preferably diver-caught
- Juice of a lime
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil
I love the bouncy sweetness of scallops, and although you might think the equal sweetness of the peas would be too much alongside, the deep flavour of cilantro and chilies and the sharpness of lemongrass miraculously provided by the Thai green curry paste, make it a zingy and yet still comforting accompaniment. This is a real treat of a supper, both for the eater and the cook.
Cook the peas in boiling, slightly salted water until tender, then drain and tip into a blender, adding 1 tablespoon curry paste and the creme fraiche or sour cream. Season to taste with salt and perhaps add more curry paste, depending on how strong it is.
When they are cooked, they will have just lost their raw look in the middle and be lusciously tender, while golden and almost caramelised on the outside.
Lift the scallops onto two warmed plates and then deglaze the hot pan by squeezing in the lime juice. Stir to mix well and pick up every scrap of flavour, and then pour over the scallops on each plate.
Make Ahead Notes: The pea puree can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead. Drain peas and immediately rinse with plenty of cold water. Puree when cold with 1 tablespoon of the curry paste and creme fraiche or sour cream. Put in a bowl, cover and leave in a cool place or refrigerator. Reheat gently in a saucepan, taste and adjust seasoning before serving. If using sour cream, make sure the puree doesn't boil, otherwise it will turn grainy.
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