Seared scallops with pappa al pomodoro

Serves: 4
Course: Main
Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • 50ml olive oil, plus a little more for the scallops
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Half a chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • Little orange zest
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 4 sprigs of basil
  • 2 slices of good white bread, crusts removed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Basil leaves
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 12 fresh scallops

1 Put the olive oil in a pan with the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat, covered, for 15 minutes until the onions completely soften but without taking on any colour.

2 Add the tomatoes, stock cube, orange zest, sugar, chilli and basil stalks. Slowly reduce by half then remove the basil stalks.

3 Tear the bread into the tomatoes and mix through until it breaks up and amalgamates. Season and allow this to cool.

4 For the basil oil, simply blend the basil leaves with the olive oil and chill it.

5 To cook the scallops, add a little olive oil to a non-stick pan and let it gently smoke.

6 Cook the scallops for a minute on each side until they caramelise lightly. Larger ones will take a little longer but do not overcook. Drain them on kitchen paper when done.

7 To serve, divide the pappa al pomodoro on to bowls or plates. If you manage to get scallop shells, that’s even better.

8 Allow three scallops per person, or more if they are small. Set the scallops on top and drizzle the basil oil around. Serve immediately.

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn is a chef, restaurateur and contributor to The Irish Times. He and his wife, Máire, run the Tannery restaurant and cookery school in Dungarvan, Co Waterford