When it comes to entrées (starters) what I’m looking for is something fresh, appetising and light. I want it to wake up my tastebuds and make me look forward to the main course. This starter ticked all the right boxes last night.
You need about 2 super fresh scallops per person for this recipe (I bought them at the market in Angers and we shucked them ourselves). Cut them into thin discs and put in a bowl and then pour over the juice of a lime, the rind (finely grated), a little salt and a drizzle of decent olive oil. Slice some cooked natural beetroot into discs the same size as the scallops and season with a little wine vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil.
I made a dressing using 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of plain oil to which I added a little Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and a few beetroot trimmings (which turns the vinaigrette bright pink and you remove before serving).
Arrange the scallops and beetroot in a circle on the plate, place a bouquet of mache in the middle and then add a few sticks of crunchy apple that you have tossed in a little lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Any spare scallop discs can be arranged around the plate and then drizzle the pink dressing just before serving.
The flavours are zingy and fresh, the delicate sweetness of the fresh scallops tying in with the sweet apple, and the lime giving it freshness and acidity. Definitely one to repeat.
Be careful on the wine front. We decided to serve a Muscadet which was not up to the job. On reflection a Sauvignon Blanc perhaps from Touraine would have been better or even, dare I say it, one from New Zealand. What is needed is something that matches the slightly tropical aspect of the lime while also having decent acidity to back it up. A dry Riesling would probably be a good match too.