Monday, 3 December 2012

Seared scallops with stuffed chicken wings, girolles and oyster beurre blanc

Another Monday, and another day off to make myself a nice lunch. This is starting to get into a bit of a routine, but one that I am certainly enjoying so far. Although I am often busy doing various bits and pieces, it’s really nice to have a couple of hours to be creative make something (hopefully) good to eat. The joy of this is also that I can cook whatever I want; I don’t have to cater for anyone else’s taste and I can experiment without the pressure of anything going wrong. It’s very relaxing too, I just put on the Saturday Kitchen that I invariably missed over the weekend in the background and get going. 

The only slightly weird thing about the Monday lunch routine comes with the eating. Although I really enjoy cooking everything on my own, I find sitting down to a meal such a sociable experience, and it’s almost an anticlimax to eat on my own. This is the funny thing about having days off in the week; Katie and most of my friends are at work, so often I end up pottering around by myself. For the most part I really enjoy this, I like how chilled out it can be, but it did get me thinking that there must be a load of others in the same boat. I’m tempted to look into creating some sort of Monday lunch supperclub, which would make these days off more sociable and open the opportunity to meet other likeminded foodies. I think it would also be a lot of fun, sitting with a load of strangers with a glass of wine and some good food on a random lunchtime. There are some slight practical problems with doing this though, such as the feeble amount of space available in my flat and kitchen, and working out the time that I would take to organise it to a high standard. But perhaps with a bit of thought and planning I can make something happen. We shall see!

Anyway, back to the recipe. I have wanted to include a scallop recipe in this blog for ages but have been very indecisive about which one. Scallops really are a fantastic and luxury ingredient and I relish every opportunity that I get to cook and eat them. They go well with a wide range of flavours, from grilled on the barbecue with garlic butter to the classic combo of peas and black pudding. For this recipe I wanted to do something slightly different, and have paired the scallops with chicken wings and in-season girolle mushrooms. 

Fish with chicken and mushrooms might sound like a slightly strange mixture, but it really does work. I first had the scallop and mushroom combination at the excellent Trangallan at Newington Green, and have wanted to have a go at it myself ever since. The stuffed chicken and crispy bacon that I have used add a lovely salty seasoning to the scallops, whilst the flavour of the mushrooms gives a mellow backnote. I really want the flavour of the scallops to be the main event of this dish, as it should be, and the other ingredients give a subtle support. The sauce brings everything together with the creamy butter and the tangy oysters. 

Chicken wings are often forgotten, and are dirt cheap. The butcher gave me the ones used in this recipe for free! But they are perfect for this recipe. Boning them is a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it it is easy to create perfect little pouches. The parts of the wing that you don’t use can be used when making the beurre blanc to add extra flavour, so nothing is wasted. 

A quick note on using microherbs and shoots. I think they can really be a bit faddy and are often overused (I am guilty of this myself!), but I really think that there is a place for them with a bit of thought. They do really pretty up a dish, which in this case would otherwise be a very brown plate of food. Taste is important too though, and they must add something in their own right. The salad fennel gives a slight aniseed taste, which adds another flavour dimension to the scallops and chicken. The broccoli shoots are lovely and peppery and can be used as an alternative to rocket or watercress. 

Serves 2


6 large scallops, coral removed and kept for the sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 large knob of butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the wings:

4 chicken wings
1 large handful fresh girolle mushrooms, brushed clean
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
40g butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the beurre blanc:

2 oysters
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
225g butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

For the girolles:

12-15 girolles, left whole
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
20g butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

2 rashers smoked streaky bacon

1 small handful salad fennel leaves
1 small handful broccoli shoots
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Start by making the mushroom stuffing for the chicken wings. Chop half of the girolles for the stuffing finely (making sure that you have kept 12-15 of the prettier ones for the garnish later), and cut the other half a little coarser, which will add texture. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add 20g of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add the shallots, thyme and garlic and cook until soft. Add the girolles, squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle over some seasoning. Cook until the moisture has evaporated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool down. 

While the musrooms are cooling, prepare the wings. You only want the large plump middle section of the wing, so cut the pointed end and the segment that joins to the body away and reserve for the sauce. Working carefully from one end, use a sharp knife and your fingers to ease the flesh away from around the two bones, leaving the skin intact. When you get to the bottom, you should be able to easily twist the bones away and be left with a boneless pocket. When the mushroom stuffing mixture is cool, stuff each wing with about a teaspoon; enough to plump up and fill the wing, but not so much that it’s bursting out. Compact the stuffing to get as much in as possible. 

When the wings are stuffed, wrap clingfilm around each one - sealing the hole over the stuffing tightly. Carefully make sure that the clingfilm is watertight around each one, so that no water can get in when they poach. 

Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the boil. When the water is up to temperature, drop the wrapped wings in and poach for 3 minutes. Remove the wings from  the liquid and allow to cool without unwrapping. 

Heat the oven up to 200ÂșC (fan). Put a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet and add the streaky bacon. When the oven is hot, cook the bacon for around 10-14 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the oven and drain.

While the bacon is cooking, make the beurre blanc. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and return to the fridge to keep cold. Put the white wine, vinegar, shallot, scallop corals and leftover ends from the chicken wings into a small saucepan. Shuck the oysters and add to the saucepan with the liquid, then heat up the contents to a medium - high heat. The liquid will start to bubble away and reduce, and allow the liquid to evaporate until only 2 tablespoons are left. Strain the mixture, give the pan a quick clean and return the liquid to the saucepan. Lower the heat to low and start adding the cold butter, one cube at a time, whisking continuously. Only add another knob of butter when the last one has dissolved. When only 3 or 4 knobs of butter are left, remove the pan from the heat and continue to add the butter until the mixture is smooth. Taste and add lemon and seasoning to taste; the sauce might not need any salt as the oysters will already add this. Stir through the parsley and set aside. As the sauce cools it will thicken. I like it slightly thick so I can spoon it onto the plate, but you can carefully reheat it to loosen it up a bit. 

Put two non-stick frying pans onto a medium-high heat. Unwrap the cooled chicken wings, pat dry with kitchen paper and season. When the pans are hot, add some oil to one of them and fry the wings on the skin side for 2 minutes. Add 20g of butter and turn the wings over, then use a spoon to baste them with the foaming butter until they are a golden brown colour. Remove from the heat, drain and keep warm. Give that pan a quick clean and return to the heat.

In one of the pans cook the girolles. Add a little oil and a knob of butter to the pan and add the whole, cleaned mushrooms, the garlic and the lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened, then season and remove the pan from the heat. Keep warm in the pan until ready to plate up.

As the girolles are cooking, sear the scallops. Pour a little oil into the other pan, and when hot, add the seasoned scallops. Cook for about a minute before turning over and adding the butter and frying for another minute, basting with the juices all the time. Squeeze over the lemon and remove from the heat.

Dress the fennel leaves and broccoli shoots with the lemon and oil in a small bowl.

To plate up, spoon some of the beurre blanc across the plate and top with the scallops. Arrange the chicken wings and girolles around the scallops and top with a scattering of the dressed leaves. Serve straight away.

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