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Locally, fresh scallop are not an easy find but if you can get frozen stock from an ethical fish monger, they are still worth the investment provided you cook them correctly. And defrost them slowly in the fridge not in the microwave. Ever!

Seared Scallops with Minted Pea Shoots


  • a nugget of salted butter
  • a slash of olive oil
  • 400 g scallops, roe removed and patted dry
  • finely chopped fresh garlic to taste
  • a squirt of fresh lemon juice
  • freshly-milled sea salt
  • freshly- milled black pepper
  • 50 g pea shoots (often available at markets, Woolies and even Checkers!)
  • 125 ml mint leaves, torn into very small pieces
  • lemon-infused olive oil


In a small pan, melt the butter and let it bubble until it turns caramel brown. Add the olive oil and ensure that the pan is quite hot. Add the scallops a few at a time and cook on both sides until caramel-brown and crisp. Do not add too many at once. They will stew instead of sear and may become floury and overcooked. Rather be brave and err on the side of caution by letting them cook a tad too briefly followed by a longer resting period. The ambient heat while resting will continue to cook the insides and this way will ensure that they are moist and deliciously chewy.

To serve, toss the pea shoots and mint leaves in the lemon-infused olive oil and season to taste. Arrange on small plates and top with the scallops. Drizzle with pan juices and serve at once.

Serves 4