Return to listing

Shaun Hill’s Sauteed Scallops with Lentil Sauce

Everyone I know in the world of cooking and catering agrees unanimously that this is the best lentil recipe ever invented. Shaun Hill, one of Britain’s most outstandingly gifted chefs, served this in his restaurant, The Merchant House, in Ludlow, and generously allowed me to adapt it and use it here.


This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three


To cook the lentils for the sauce, place them in a saucepan with the stock and a pinch of salt and simmer gently with a lid on for 40-45 minutes, until they’re really soft and beginning to break up. Then drain them, reserving the cooking liquid.

Now heat half the oil in the medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until pale golden – about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. To do this, place them in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water on to them. Leave them for exactly a minute, then remove them, slip off their skins (protecting your hands with a cloth if they’re hot) and finely chop them. You can watch how to skin tomatoes by clicking here

Next, remove the pan from the heat, add the cardamom seeds, stir for a few seconds, then add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the cooked lentils and all the cooking liquid. After that, whiz the whole lot to a purée in a food processor, then add the remaining lentils. All this can be done in advance.

When you are ready to finish the dish, re-heat the lentil purée, whisk in the butter, crème fraîche and lemon juice, and taste and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Finally, add the chopped coriander and keep the lentil mixture warm while you cook the scallops.

To do this, heat the large frying pan over a high heat without adding any fat. Dry the scallops and corals with kitchen paper.

When the pan is searing hot, lightly brush them on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Now add them to the pan and let them cook without moving for about one minute, until the underside is dark brown and caramelised, then use a small palette knife to flip them over. Continue to cook for 30 seconds on the other side, but no more. What you are aiming for is a golden, caramelised outside, with a soft and barely cooked inside. It’s important to have your frying pan really hot to get the dish right – if the scallops boil or steam, they will lose the concentrated flavour needed to balance the sauce.

To serve, arrange the scallops on warmed serving plates or in clean scallop shells, then spoon over the lentil sauce and garnish with the sprigs of coriander.


Return to Homepage
Visit the Delia Online Cookery School

Related recipes

Scallop Cream Soup Serves 4-6

Scallop Cream Soup

This really is one of the most luxurious and delicate soups imaginable. It is very easy to prepare and cook, but perfect for a special occasion. Crisp, golden croutons are lovely sprinkled over the top of a bowl of hot or chilled soup.

Scallops in the Shell Serves 6 as a starter

Scallops in the Shell

Fresh scallops are very plump and good around Christmas time, and this is my own favourite way of serving them. The recipe has the advantage of requiring no last-minute fuss - it even freezes well and can be cooked straight from the freezer.

Scallops Veronique Serves 4 as a starter

Scallops Veronique

There's more than a hint of French influence in this superb seafood recipe - just the thing for a luxurious starter or main course when you really want to push the boat out!

Sizzling scallops with garlic butter crumbs Serves 2

Sizzling scallops with garlic butter crumbs

A quick and easy cheat supper that is bound to become a favourite, with its combination of scallops and garlic butter crumbs.




Popular topic
Latest post
Ask Lindsey... butter substitute
28 Nov 2015 09:58
Coffee Break Racking my brains
27 Nov 2015 18:52
Food and travel Sponge receipe needed
14 Nov 2015 22:15
Can Anyone Help? Choux pastry
27 Nov 2015 20:16
Books Sorry for no reply
03 Sep 2015 21:44
Equipment Pyrex Mixing bowl John Lewis
11 Nov 2015 20:45
Gardening Falling Leaves
07 Nov 2015 13:15
CMS solutions by