It is always a challenge to get punters at the pub to order a starter, especially with something as intrinsically expensive as a plate of scallops. So we have started to do little 'shooter' starters where you can order a single scallop for a couple of quid - almost like an amuse-bouche.
I pinched the idea for this recipe from the Lido restaurant in Bristol where they roast scallops and many other things in their beautiful wood fired oven. I have no such luxury and the end result is only marginally superior to a searingly hot domestic oven or grill. This is quite a forgiving way to cook spanking fresh scallops - as long as they are warmed through they will taste fantastic. Remember that fresh scallops can be eaten raw so don't let stress overcome you - the enemy is overcooking.
Tarragon - 20g
Dill - 10g
Parsley - 20g
Chervil - 20g
Garlic - 2 fat cloves
Butter - 100g, room temperature
Scallops - as many as you like, on the half shell
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges to serve
Heat your oven or grill to maximum. Separate the herbs from any woody or thick stems and finely chop along with the peeled garlic. Mix well into the butter with a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Add a teaspoon of the butter to each shell and lightly season the scallops. Roast in a hot oven or under the grill until just starting to firm up. If using a grill then you will need to turn the scallops halfway through the cooking process.
You can tell if the scallops are cooked by touch (if you have the skills), or by inserting a thin knife into the centre of the scallop and leaving for a few seconds - if the knife tip is 'bath' temperature when touched to the lips, then they are cooked.
Melt a little extra butter and spoon over the scallops, add a wedge of lemon and a small piece of good bread to mop up the juices.