Saffron, a spice made from the stigma of flowers, is the world's most expensive spice: by weight it is comparable to gold. It departs a taste which has been described as “metallic honey” with light haylike undertones. This is a sweet autumnal dish which would pair well with a dry cider.
- 12 scallops, cleaned and corals removed
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for puree) + 100ml extra virgin olive oil (for dressing)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 small pinch saffron strands
- 2 Braeburn apples, cored, diced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
- 200g/7oz unsalted pistachios, shelled
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fry the cinnamon, cloves and star anise over a low heat in the olive oil until they begin to release their aromas. Then add the chopped apples and cook until soft (approx 15mins).
Remove the spices and discard. Add half the pistachios and cook for a further 5 mins, then blend this mixture in a food processor. Pass it through a fine sieve to remove any lumps and season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
Clean the food processor then pulse the remaining pistachios in the olive oil until they are finely chopped (not pureed). Set this mixture aside.
Reduce the sherry vinegar over a low heat until there is about a teaspoon's worth left. Stir in the honey and saffron and leave on the heat.
Cut the Granny Smith apple into matchsticks and toss in lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper and sear in a very hot pan for between 30 seconds and 1 minute on each side, until they are golden brown on the outside but still soft on the inside. Dip one side of each scallop into the sherry saffron glaze.
Add three dollops of the puree to each plate and set a scallop on each, glaze side up. Arrange the matchsticks on top and drizzle with pistachio oil.