The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

 An unconventional dish of curried scallops from the Editor.

Granted curry has little in the way of convention, and as noted in the lyrical is nearly impossible to define without offending someone or excluding something worthy of the canon, but this curry bears scant resemblance to other dishes taking the name. This seems, however, like a good preparation because people who sample it fall into two camps; those who ask the Editor to serve it again and again, and more enterprising creatures who request the recipe. Until now, however, it has existed only in the fevered imagination of the Editor, so the written recipe is a sort of rescue archeology of her own. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is ideal, as it is for many things. For four; may be halved or doubled at constant proportion.


  • clams-and-scallops.jpg2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • about 1½ cups sliced mushrooms
  • generous ¼ cup minced shallots
  • a minced chili (or two)
  • heaped Tablespoon minced ginger
  • heaped Tablespoon curry powder
  • dollop coconut chutney if you have some (see the Notes)
  • about ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • about ⅓ cup minced scallion whites
  • about ½ cup decent white or sparkling wine
  • salt
  • pepper or cayenne
  • another 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • 12 unbrined sea scallops (see the Notes)
  • about ¼ cup minced scallion greens

 

  1. Get the oil hot over high heat in a heavy skillet and sear the mushrooms: Shake rather than stir the pot or they will just boil in their own juices.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, reduce the heat to medium (you may need another drip of oil) and cook the shallot and chili until they soften.
  3. Stir the ginger, then curry and then chutney into the mix and pour on the heavy cream.
  4. Bring the mixture, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the scallion whites.
  5. Pour the wine into the skillet, bring it in turn to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and cook the sauce until it reaches the consistency you like; season the sauce with salt and pepper or cayenne.
  7. Keep the sauce warm while you get the second 2 teaspoons of quite hot over high heat in another heavy skillet.
  8. Sear the scallops on each side until they just barely lose their translucence.
  9. Immediately spoon the sauce onto four places (cold scallops are no fun unless ceviche), artistically drop three scallops onto each one and scatter the scallion greens over them.

 

Notes:

-Swad makes excellent coconut chutney but beware; it gets hotter as you empty the jar and in an unchutneylike way spoils rather quickly.

-Lesser supermarkets and fishmongers stock scallops that have arrived in brine. They have a longer shelf life than fresh scallops and ironically look fresher, glistening instead of dry. These are the precise reasons why they appeal to sellers fixated on nothing other than profit. Brined scallops, however, are horrible. They are salty, mucky, and because they retain so much water will not sear. If you cannot get unbrined scallops cook something else.

-Vary the recipe. Choose coconut milk instead of cream (remembering, however, that scallops are delicate), substitute diced apple for the mushrooms, pour hard cider instead of wine, add some chopped cilantro to the minced scallion greens. Best to eschew garlic (see earlier parenthetical)

-Coconut rice complements scallop curry. Simmer a heaped Tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut with some salt with a can of coconut milk thinned with enough water to take it a couple of steps from viscous. Bring an amount 1¾ more than the rice you need by volume to a boil, stir the rice into the liquid and then simmer it until the rice has absorbed the liquid. No need to strain off the coconut before adding the rice to the pot.