Seared scallops with butternut squash purée, creamed leeks and crispy bacon and morels.

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The best scallops can be found in and around the shores of Scotland and Northern Ireland and those that are handpicked by divers as opposed to dredged are the best quality of all, as they are free from grit and have not been damaged through dredging. If you are buying scallops in the shell (which seem to be becoming increasingly harder to find), make sure they are tightly closed when you buy them, as this shows how fresh they really are.
Although you don’t need the orange coral for this recipe, don’t throw them away. They can be used in a variety of different ways. They make a great base for a Velouté (cream based sauce), or they can be dried and ground into a fine powder and used as a seasoning or a flavouring and used in risottos and sauces.
This is fantastic dish (well worth the effort to make this at home), with a great depth of flavour. The sweet flavour from the scallops and butternut squash purée all work brilliantly with the salty, crisp bacon. These flavours are all pulled together with the creamed leeks and morels, making this dish a great way to start a gourmet meal.


For the butternut Squash puree;

1 butternut squash, cut into rough chunks
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Sprig of thyme
50ml olive oil
10g butter
Salt and pepper to taste
50ml double cream
20g cold butter, diced

For the creamed Leeks;

2 leeks washed and cut into very fine Julienne strips
1tblsp of butter
100ml white wine
200ml double cream
20g Glebe Breton cheese or Gruyere grated
Salt and pepper to taste

For the potato bread;

4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved  
1 pinch salt       
¼ cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting  
1tblsp melted butter

To serve;

50g thin slices of dry cured streaky bacon
12 medium Irish scallops, White meat only, trimmed off all coral
Salt and pepper to taste
1tblsp olive oil
25g butter
Squeeze of lemon
12 morels, washed and lightly cooked in butter
Reduced Jus


For the butternut Squash puree;

Pre heat the oven to 170c.
Place the butternut squash onto a large roasting tray with the garlic, sprig of thyme, olive oil, butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the tray into the pre heated oven and roast for 40-45mins or until the squash flesh is very tender. Remove from the oven and scoop out flesh with a spoon. Place the cooked butternut squash into a blender and purée with the double cream until very smooth. Add the 20g butter to and blend again until all of the butter is incorporated. This will give the purée a beautiful glossy finish. Adjust seasoning.
If making the purée in advance, don’t add the butter until ready to serve. Chilli the purée and store in the fridge. Reheat when ready to serve and add the butter at the last minute.

For the creamed leeks;

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the leeks and cook over medium heat until the leeks are just starting to soften. Turn up the heat under the pan and add the wine, reduce until almost evaporated. Add the cream and bring to the boil, turn the pan to a simmer and cook until the leeks are well coated in a light sauce, about 5-7mins.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the grated cheese, season to taste.

For the potato bread;

In a pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer on medium-high heat until the centre of the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain, return potatoes to pot and allow to completely dry out over remaining heat. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Place warm mashed potato in medium bowl. Stir in flour, salt and melted butter. Mix lightly until dough forms. On a well floured surface, knead the dough lightly. The dough will be sticky. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the potato mixture. Cut the potato bread into small cakes using a small ring cutter.
Sprinkle a little flour into the base of the skillet or a dry frying pan and cook the farls for 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through.

To serve;

Place slices of bacon onto a metal baking tray. Place another tray on top and cook in the pre heated oven for approx 7mins or until the bacon slices are very crisp, be careful as they will burn quite easily. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Place a large none stick frying pan over high heat. Add a little olive oil, Season the scallops with salt and pepper and panfry over high heat for 1 ½ minutes. This should give the scallops a lovely golden caramelised surface. Turn the scallops over and add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and spoon the butter all over the scallops; cook for a further 45seconds or until just cooked through and no more. Add a squeeze of lemon and remove from the heat.

Spoon the butternut squash purée across the centre of a warm serving plate. Place a slice of potato bread at the top of the plate and top with a little of the creamed leeks.
Place 1 of the scallops on top of the leeks. Place the other 2 scallops at the front of your plate. Garnish with crisp bacon slices, morels and drizzle with the reduced jus.
Serve at once and enjoy!!!!!

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