Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Recipe : Warm Saffron Chickpeas with Clams, Scallop and Pomegranate, Mandarin Oil

This cute little starter recipe is one I conceived for a recent dinner party I catered for. All the dishes nodded towards the flavours and aromas of North Africa, as I thought it fitting for a summer dinner party - wholesome foods, with rich but delicate flavours.
At the base of this dish are chickpeas which add substance and rich nuttiness. These are simmered very gently in a fragrant broth of vegetable stock, spring onions and saffron. I was careful not to overheat them as I wanted a subtle contrast of the warm legumes with cool, juicy pomegranate and fine shreds of red onion. To add extra flavour, steamed clams were mixed through - and the dish topped with a juicy seared (diver-caught) scallop. A few peashoots added a flourish of green to the dish.

For 2
2 large (diver-caught) Scallops
300g Palourde or Venus Clams
1 Pomegranate
1/2 Red Onion
1 300g tin of Chick Peas
3/4 Spring Onions
Good pinch of Saffron
500ml Vegetable Stock
Splash of white wine for steaming open the clams
Peashoots to decorate

Firstly set to work on the broth to simmer the chick peas in - lightly saute the chopped spring onions until translucent, add the saffron and the vegetable stock - bring to a gentle simmer. Drain the chick peas and add to the broth, remaining on a gentle simmer until they become plump and absorb the flavours of the broth. Finely slice the onion and set aside, and remove the juicy seeds from the pomegranate, keep these cool until serving. Steam open the clams with the white wine - discarding any that refuse to open. Season the scallop and sear for a few minutes on each side in a little butter, until caramelised and juicy. To serve add the clams to the warm chickpeas, along with a spoonful or the strained cooking liquor. Divide between bowls, and scatter with the red onion and the chilled beads of pomegranate. Finish with the seared scallop and peashoots and a drizzle with a Mandarin infused olive oil (I use Colonna).


Margaret said...

I just tonight finished watching Masterchef on BBC Food here in Namibia. Congrats on winning. I actually thought Ben was going to be the winner and I think the decision was difficult for the judges. In America we don't see BBC Food so it was fun to watch here.

Margaret from Hermiston, Oregon

Green Head said...

Congrats! You won the master chef!

virginia woods-jack said...

Hey Steven...remember us Virginia and Phil. We were sat here in NZ talking about the delectable miss maxwell and i mentioned that she said you had been on master you won! What a star, good to see you shining like one too! Check out my blog to see what I've been up to down here in the southern hemisphere. phil is going great guns in the film industry and our two wee girls are growing all the time. Amazing sounding recipe, wouldn't expect anything else. Love Virginia

david bru said...

look like taste great! i think i'm going to steal it...but i dont know if i can do it...

Theresa said...

hey steven, masterchef 2007 was aired in Australia just his year and ended today...and i just had to say i followed the entire series (yes i'm a bit of a bum). I was rooting for u the whole time and am absolutely pleased u won...its a year later but just wanted to tell u anyways. if u ever opne a restaurnat anywhere pls let us know so i can taste all those amazin dishes i saw u prepare. :)

Linda said...

Hi Stephen
The series of Masterchef you won has only just been aired in Australia. I loved the show and was tipping you to win for the last few episodes. Unfortunately I stuffed up the recording of the show (I wasn't home when it was on) and missed the final episode so I googled it and was pleased to see you won. Congratulations from Australia.

A Girl Has To Eat said...

Wow, anything with seafood and saffron always tickles my belly.
It is so truly amazing you won masterchef. It is my secret dream to go on it.

I look forward to reading more from your blog.

Emily said...

Looks incredible, and not too difficult either. My type of food!