This simple starter is made using scallops, the best of British asparagus (the season is very short, lasting only 8 weeks usually end of April – end of May) drizzled with a wonderful vanilla sauce made using Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
Scallops with Asparagus Tips and Vanilla Hollandaise
Ready in 30 minutes
For the Hollandaise
2tbsp white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
3 free range egg yolks
1 tsp Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
160g unsalted butter, cubed (must be at room temperature)
2 cubes of butter
2 tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta, cubed
½ small fennel, very thinly sliced
16 asparagus tips
* For the hollandaise, put the white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp water, bay leaf and peppercorns into a pan and simmer gently until reduced to about 1 tbsp. Strain and add 1 tbsp water to it. Transfer to a glass bowl.
* Whisk in the free range egg yolks and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
* Add 10g unsalted butter, whisking until melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Gradually add the remaining 150g butter a cube at a time, whisking after each addition until all incorporated. Cook for a further 1- 2 minutes, until smooth and thickened, be careful not to overheat, add seasoning to taste.
* Remove from the heat and keep warm while you cook the scallops.
* Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 cube of butter in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the pancetta and fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until it begins to release some fat. When golden and crisp, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
* Drain off the fat, and add ½ tbsp olive oil, the asparagus tips and fennel to the pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally.
* In a separate frying pan, heat ½ tbsp olive oil with a small knob of butter, when hot add the scallops and sear for 30 seconds/1 minute on each side depending on their size. Return the pancetta to the pan with the veg.
* Divide this between 4 starter plates and serve with scallops on top with the vanilla hollandaise drizzled over.