In December when the Brussel sprouts are at their absolute best I use them in all sorts of dishes. The slight bitterness of the brussels paired with the sweetness of the dates and heat from the chilli is a fantastic combination. This amazing vegetable is so versatile and when pan-fried bears no resemblance to the soggy green balls you might have endured as a kid.
Serves 2 Adults
400g frozen scallops (defrosted)
400g brussel sprouts
6 slice unsmoked bacon
1 red chilli
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
serve with quinoa or rice
I take the scallops out of the freezer to defrost on the morning I want to make this evening meal. When I make this dish for me and Paul I bake some fish for the kids to have with quinoa and peas. I cook quinoa and rice the same way. 1 cup of rice or quinoa and 2 cups of water into a milk pan (with a lid) stir in 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil then as soon as it bubbles put the lid on a turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes. Take the lid off and fluff with a fork.
- Cut the bacon into small strips. I make 3 piles from the fattiest to the leanest parts of the meat. Put the oil in a large skillet on a medium/high heat. Once the oil is hot add the fattiest parts of the bacon and cook for 3 minutes before adding the leanest parts. Stir occasionally and cook until all the bacon is crispy (about 6 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a bowl leaving the oil in the pan.
- Cut the bottom off each sprout and discard then cut the Brussels into discs the thickness of a pound coin. Keep a few whole leaves aside to use at the end.
- Chop the dates and chilli into small pieces.
- Dry the defrosted scallops and sprinkle over with salt.
- Tip the Brussel sprouts into the skillet with the bacon fat in it, sprinkle over some salt and stir or toss to brown without burning the leaves. After a couple of minutes the leaves should have taken on some colour but not be too soft. Tip the bacon, dates and chilli into the pan and stir. Turn the heat down to medium low while you cook the scallops.
- Put the butter in a small saucepan on a medium/high heat. Once the butter is foaming add the scallops to the pan. I put the scallops in one by one (flat side down) because by the time I’ve put the last one in the first one is ready to be turned over.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the scallops to the brussels pan and squeeze over the juice of a whole lemon, stir to combine.
- Put the whole Brussel sprout leaves, reserved from earlier, into the scallop butter pan and cook for 1 minute whilst stirring.
- Dish up with the quinoa or rice and drizzle with the maple syrup. Decorate the dishes with the whole leaves.