Nigella’s Scallops with Pea Puree


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Most of the dishes I cook meet with The Mistah’s approval.  It is rare for him to provide negative feedback on a recipe.  But this one was a split decision.  I liked the slightly spiced pea puree.  The Mistah said something to the effect that the peas weren’t his favorite and that he prefers the other way that I make them.  What he specifically meant, I can’t be sure.  If you know, would you let me in on the secret?

Nigella’s Scallops with Pea Puree

Adapted from Nigella Kitchen

BAH Note: Try and get “dry” scallops, meaning they haven’t been injected with liquid.  Mine were “wet” (injected) and even though I tried a Cook’s Illustrated technique to dry them out a bit, my scallops didn’t get that lovely browned exterior because the liquid wept out into my pan causing them to steam more than to saute.

  • 1 pound frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry paste
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon

Cook the peas in a saucepan, drain, and transfer to the food processor.  Add the curry paste, sour cream or creme fraiche, lime juice, and salt and process until smooth.  If the puree is on the thick side, drizzle in a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Cover the puree until ready to serve.

Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Working in batches if necessary, cook the scallops for two to three minutes per side until browned.

Transfer the scallops to a plate and deglaze the pan with the lemon juice.

Serve the scallops drizzled with pan sauce on a bed of pea puree.

{printable recipe}

9 thoughts on “Nigella’s Scallops with Pea Puree

  1. Wait, are our husbands long lost brothers? That’s totally something mine would say. The dish sounds nice though – I bet it made a lovely presentation! Another tip is to avoid previously frozen scallops. Those will also never dry out well enough to get a proper sear.

    1. Jennifer, what’s up with our men making cryptic comments? You know, my scallops did come out of the frozen cooler at Costco because they are easy on the grocery budget. But when I splurge on the “good stuff” from the seafood case at The Fresh Market, they are absolutely perfect.

    1. I personally enjoyed the pea puree very much. I think maybe my husband prefers it without spices. When I buy scallops at the seafood counter I don’t have the problem with them being overly wet. So maybe the lesson here is to get my seafood from the counter and not the frozen food section.

  2. Hmm, I’m not sure what The Mistah means. How else do you make peas?

    Peas and scallops are two of my favorite foods. I must try this recipe in the future.

    1. Mistah speak is something I’m still trying to master even after being together for nine years. Peas and scallops were made for each other. Sadly, it’s taken me almost 40 years to realize that.

  3. I didn’t know this about scallops–or if I’d heard about this, I’d conveniently forgotten. Do they inject them with liquid just to increase the weight and thus the sale price??

    1. Jenna, I think the liquid they inject acts more as a preservative…but when you’re paying by the pound, it also drives up your cost. If you’re at the seafood counter, you would want to ask whether the scallops are wet or dry. Wet have been injected. Dry have not.

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