Carpaccio of sea scallops with fennel slaw
Sometimes what Italian cooks do with their beautiful raw ingredients just leaves me speechless. And speechless I was when I ate a carpaccio of scallops on a bed of fennel slaw. In a word, it was elegante! Carpaccio usually refers to paper-thin slices of raw beef served with good extra-virgin olive oil and herbs, but in this case, it became a clever way to serve scallops. As I savoured every bite, I committed the flavours that I was encountering to memory and to my trusty notebook and vowed to make this dish straightaway when I got home. And while our scallops are different from those in Italy, the overriding factor in making this a successful dish is to be sure and use large, dry, and very fresh sea scallops.
Portions: 4 serves
- 8 large sea scallops, each sliced into paper-thin rounds
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¹⁄3 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil (preferably from Tuscany), plus extra for drizzling
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tablespoons finely minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely minced tarragon
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
- 1 small fennel bulb, white part only, shaved as for coleslaw
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Place the scallops in a rectangular glass dish large enough to hold them in a single layer, pour the lemon juice over them. Season with salt. Toss gently and allow them to marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for several hours. Turn them once while they are marinating.
In a bowl, combine the olive oil, shallot, parsley, tarragon, and vinegar. Add the shaved fennel and toss again very well. Allow the flavors to develop for 1 hour at room temperature. To serve, divide and mound the fennel slaw in the center of 4 salad
plates. Divide and mound the scallop slices on top of the fennel. Drizzle the top with more olive oil and season with more salt, if desired. Sprinkle the nuts evenly over each dish.