Plates to stir the fires of passion; If you fancy a romantic dinner at home this Valentine's Day, here are some zingy dishes to tempt the tastebuds.
WATERCRESS has long been believed to be an aphrodisiac; in Crete islanders swear by its powers with ancient recipes handed down from one generation to the next to keep the passions hot. Here chef Keri Astill-Frew offers up a delicious meal using a bit of the green stuff.
Ingredients 6 large scallops, cleaned (shells optional for presentation) 1 tsp olive oil 45g hazelnuts 1 shallot 75g butter, softened zest of half a lemon 1 tbsp. chopped chervil salt and pepper For the salad: 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar 11/2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 handful pea shoots 1 handful watercress METHOD 1. Place a frying pan on a low-medium heat until warm. Finely slice the shallot, then fry gently with the olive oil until softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Add the hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse until chopped quite finely. Be careful not to blend for too long so that they do not form a paste.
3. Into a bowl add the soft butter, hazelnuts, softened shallots, lemon zest, and chervil. Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper. 4. Preheat the grill to high. If using scallop shells, place each scallop on an individual shell on a baking tray. If not, the scallops can be placed directly onto the tray. Top each scallop with a spoonful of the hazelnut and butter mixture. Once the grill is ready, place the scallops underneath for 3-4 minutes, then remove and set aside to rest for one minute.
5. Make the salad by hi ki whisking the mustard, vinegar and vegetable oil together in a bowl. Taste and add salt if necessary, then add in the watercress and pea shoots and toss together. 6. Serve the rested scallops on two serving plates with the salad on the side.
| See watercress.co.uk
Picture by Lara Jane Thorpe