Recipe of the week: Scallops with puy lentils, porcini and asparagus
Ingredients (serves 4)
20g dried porcini mushrooms
300g puy lentils
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil, for frying
12-16 fresh scallops
Bunch of asparagus (approx. 250g), halved lengthways if thick
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Place the porcini in a small bowl and pour over 300ml of boiling water. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, put the lentils, bay leaf and garlic in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Cover loosely with a lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, yet still holding their shape. Top up the water if you need to during cooking, then drain, remove the garlic and bay leaf, and set aside.
3 Heat a frying pan and add the extra virgin olive oil. When hot, add the halved tomatoes and toss them in the pan until they take on a little colour. Add the drained lentils, the porcini and their liquor, the parsley and lemon juice, and season well with salt and pepper.
4 In a separate frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over a high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and put them in the pan, cooking over a high heat for about two minutes on each side, until they are nicely golden.
5 Remove the scallops from the pan, pour in a drizzle more oil and add the asparagus. Fry for a couple of minutes while you are plating up.
6 Divide the lentils between four plates. Arrange three or four scallops per person and a few asparagus spears on top. Finish with a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Flexible option As delicious as scallops are, you could swap them for some pan-fried cauliflower. For this, you need to cut a small cauliflower into fairly equal-sized florets. Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the cauliflower and cook for three to four minutes until deep golden. Flip over and continue to cook, shaking the pan until the cauliflower is browned, for another five to six minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve as you would the scallops.