To fully appreciate this delicious, vibrant dish, use hand-dived king scallops fresh from Scotland’s west coast.

Seared Islay Scallops with Chilli and Herb Couscous and Curry Oil

Seared Islay Scallops with Chilli and Herb Couscous and Curry Oil

Serves four


12 Hand Dived King Scallops, medium Sized
50g Pre-cooked Couscous
1 large Shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
½ small red Chilli, finely sliced
4 cried apricots, finely chopped
Small handful of sultanas
75ml vegetable or fish stock
15g Butter
1 tablespoon chopped herbs (e.g. dill, coriander, parsley, chive)
Salt and Pepper

Sweet Potato Puree:

½ small sweet potato roughly chopped
1 shallot roughly chopped
Pinch of chilli
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Enough vegetable stock to cover

Curry Oil:

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ ground coriander
½ ground turmeric

Place all the curry oil ingredients in a pan over a very low heat (this can burn easily, so care is required) for ½ an hour. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 3-4 hours. Strain through muslin or tea towel and place in a plastic bottle if available.

Place all the sweet potato puree in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour, making sure the liquid does not boil away. Top up with more water if required.

Strain off the liquid, but retain it. Place the sweet potato in a blender or food processor and blitz, adding some of the retained water. You want it to have the consistency of a thick soup. Strain through a fine sieve and adjust the seasoning if required.

Warm a pan over a medium heat, add a splash of olive oil, then the shallot, garlic and chilli. Sweat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the apricots and sultanas, then the vegetable or fish stock. When it boils, add the couscous, stir well then remove from the heat. Clingfilm the pan and allow to rest for 3 minutes. Fork the couscous to loosen it, then add the butter, mix well, then add the herbs and incorporate well. Check the flavour and add ground black pepper and salt if required.

Place a frying pan on a high heat. Once hot, add some vegetable oil or clarified butter and immediately add the scallops. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow the scallops to brown around the edges (do not move them around or shake pan). This should take approximately 1 minute. Carefully turn the scallops over, seasoning with salt and cook approximately 30 seconds more. Add a splash of lemon juice at the last minute, remove from the pan and drain on a tea towel or kitchen paper.

Place a ring of couscous on the plate, scallops on top, a swirl of potato puree on the side, and a drizzle of curry oil around the plate. Garnish with deep-fried sweet potato crisps dusted with cumin if preferred.