8-12 large scallops, shelled, with corals
fat for greasing
1 lb (450 g) potatoes, halved
salt and pepper
1/2 stick (2 oz) 50 g butter
1/3 cup (3 fl oz) 90 ml single cream
1 small onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
45 ml/3 tbsp dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp (25 g) plain flour
125 ml (4 fl oz) milk
75 ml/5 tbsp single cream
3 tbsp (60 ml) dry white breadcrumbs
60 ml/4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Watercress (salad cress) sprigs to garnish
1. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of salted boiling water for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash with a potato masher, or beat with a hand-held electric whisk until smooth. Beat in 25 g/1 oz of the butter and 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the cream to make a creamy piping consistency.
2. Grease 4 scallop shells or shallow individual ovenproof dishes. Spoon the creamed potato into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe a border of mashed potato around the edge of each shell. Set the oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
3. Combine the scallops, onion, bay leaf, wine and lemon juice in a saucepan. Add 75 ml (5 tbsp) water. Bring to simmering point and poach the scallops gently for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the scallops and cut into slices. Strain the cooking liquid into a jug.
4. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid, stirring all the time, until the sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, stirring, then lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
5. Divide the sliced scallops between the prepared scallop shells or dishes. Coat with the sauce and sprinkle lightly with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
6. Stand the scallop shells or dishes on a large baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are crisp and the potatoes browned. Garnish with the watercress sprigs and serve at once.
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