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An alternative use for scallop roe | Food


Cream-coloured scallops with their bright coral roes are an exquisite treat to be savoured in their entirety. Some fishmongers sell them shelled and without the roe, but if possible avoid buying these, because not only are they missing the best bit, they’re likely dredged, too, which ploughs up the sea bed. Diver-caught scallops may be pricey, but they are picked selectively by hand, so preserving other oceanic species and avoiding unnecessary waste. They’re usually sold live in the shell, too, so you know they’re fresh.

Ignore daft recipes that call for only the meaty, white flesh and add the roe anyway – it won’t affect the dish. Even the frill is edible, incidentally, and is delicious minced and fried. If you do, however, find yourself with roes to use up, whip up this smoky tarama.

Scallop roe taramasalata

If you like seafood and mayonnaise, this is the recipe for you. Homemade taramasalata is an entirely different beast from the ultra-processed, pink gloop you find in supermarkets. Smoked roes are blended with oil in a similar way to mayonnaise, making a fresh and powerful, umami-flavoured dip. A fishmonger might even sell you roes separately, though I’d recommend using the whole scallop.

50g scallop roes or whole scallops (diver-caught, ideally)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp tea leaves
30g slice stale wholemeal bread
, cut into cubes
1 dash whole milk
1 small garlic clove
, peeled
50-80ml extra-virgin olive oil
¼ unwaxed lemon
, zested and juiced
½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt the scallop roes (or scallops) with a teaspoon of fine sea salt, leave for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry. Put the tea leaves in an old saucepan, put a metal sieve on top, pop in the scallop and cover with a lid. Place on a medium heat and, once you see smoke, leave cook for three minutes. Turn off the heat and leave until the smoke stops.

To make the taramasalata, soak the bread in a dash of milk until it softens, squeeze out any excess milk, then put the bread in a small blender with the smoked scallop, garlic, 50ml of the oil and the lemon zest and juice. Blend smooth, then check the consistency; add more oil to make it thicker, if necessary. Serve with toast or crudités, and keep in the fridge for up to five days.


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