There are certain flavour pairings that are meant to be enjoyed together. Pork and seafood is one of them. The strong, often salty flavour of pork compliments the more delicate flavour of fish. The best pork and fish combinations involve a meaty texture, light flavoured fish and a strong, salty pork.
I had beautiful Block Island Scallops from The Local Catch and some meaty, savoury weisswurst from Chez Pascal's Wurst Kitchen- a match made in culinary heaven.
Pea and mint is often the triplet to the the pork and scallop twins. With the weiswurst being gently spiced and incredibly hearty I wanted a sweet and spicy relish that would stand up to this meaty couple.
Ingredients: To serve two
6 large scallops (the ones I had were BEASTS so I cut them in half to create two smaller scallops from one)
1 weisswurst- about 5 inches in length, if you can't get weisswurst a good quality pork sausage with pepper and herbs would work well
1 red bell pepper or 3 mini sweet red/orange peppers
1/2 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Start by making your relish.
Finely mince the garlic, and dice the pepper and red onion.
Fry the garlic in a little oil until slightly golden then add in the chili flakes. By adding the chili flakes at the beginning of the cooking it will mellow out the heat making it a light hum rather than a fierce burn- this is how I like it and how I think it's best compliments the scallops. If you're more of a burner then hold back the chili until towards the end.
Add in the pepper and onion, and fry on a medium heat until they are softened but not mushy, about 10 minutes.
Whack up the heat for 10 seconds and splash in the red wine vinegar so that it sizzles when it hits the pan. sprinkle over the sugar and cook on this high heat for about 2 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated away. Turn the heat down low and leave to simmer very gently so that the relish can reduce and become nice and sticky and jewel-like.
Slice the sausage into diagonal slices about half and inch/1cm thick, this isn't just to look fancy. By slicing diagonally you are creating a larger surface area and thus when fried, creating more space for caramelisation and lovely, delicious sticky bits!
Use a large frying pan to cook the sausages and scallops- I'll explain in a moment.
Fry the sausages in a very little oil for about a minute on each side, if you are using pre-cooked weisswurst as I was, or about 3 minutes on each side until cook through if using raw sausage.
Swipe the sausages to the side of the pan, onto a part of the pan surface not directly above the heat, set the pan off center on the hob ring if you can. This will keep the sausage warm without over cooking it but give you space to cook the scallops in the sausage residue and fat.
Scallops take very little time to cook, you don't want to over cook them lest they become rubbery so keep these until the last minute to fry.
The best way to cook scallops is to use the clock meathod. Lay each scallop in the pan in a a large circle, placing each one down in turn in a clockwise motion. When you reach the first scallop again, turn it over and continue around the clock to ensure even cooking.
Depending on how many scallops you are cooking with will dictate how many times you'll go around the clock. If you are nervous or unsure about cooking scallops I would suggest you keep going around the clock continuously until they are cooked, this way you won't over cook them as you'll see each stage of the cooking process.
If you are a more confident about cooking them, lay out the raw scallops in a clock, when you reach the first leave them to cook and colour for the desired time. I laid out my 12 half scallops in a clock, left them for 1 minute then turned them over in order and left them for a further minute which was sufficient- more scallops mean less of a waiting period, fewer scallops mean more of a waiting period.
When your scallops are done, pile them onto the relish and (if you're feeling super fancy as I was) place the sausage slices atop your scallops.
If you are not feeling so fancy or can't abide a carb-less dinner then stir the relish into some fresh cooked spaghetti and top with your scallops and sausage.