Seared Scallops on Pea & Mint Risotto

Those who have seen scallops served on Masterchef will admit to a certain trepidation when it comes to the cooking time. The scathing disapproval critics pour over contestants’ overcooked scallops can lead one to think they are the hothouse orchid of seafood, blink, and you’ve ruined it.

However, with this easy to follow guide from Delicious Magazine you needn’t fear cooking this most moreish of molluscs.


  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g scallops, roe removed
  • Fresh baby mint leaves, to serve

For the pea and mint risotto

  • 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 75g butter
  • 8 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 225g risotto rice
  • 50ml dry white vermouth or white wine
  • 225g freshly shelled or frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated


Let’s start by making the risotto first. Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and keep hot over a low heat.

Melt 50g of the butter in a medium pan, add the spring onions and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in butter. Add the vermouth or white wine and simmer, stirring, until it has nearly disappeared. Add a ladleful of stock and stir over a medium heat until it is nearly all absorbed, then add another. Continue like this for 20-25 minutes or until al dente.

Meanwhile, cook the peas in a pan of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Drain well, tip into a food processor and add the remaining butter and chopped mint. Process until smooth, then set aside.

When the risotto has 4 minutes to go, heat a large non-stick, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat until smoking hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the butter, olive oil and half the scallops and sear for 1 minute, seasoning with salt and pepper as they cook. Quickly turn them over, season again and cook for another minute. Spoon them onto a plate and keep warm while you cook the remainder.

When the rice is tender but still a little al dente in the centre, stir in the pea purée, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Spoon onto warmed serving plates and pile the scallops on top. Serve immediately, scattered with baby mint leaves, revel in your achievement, you can now cook scallops, and John Torode can’t say otherwise.


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