Scallops with black quinoa tabbouleh and candied kumquats

Quinoa has been eaten in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years. This black variety has a toasty aniseed flavour that complements the scallops and the sweet citrusy kumquat.

Serves 6


* 6 large scallops, roe on
* 6 large scallop shells
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for frying
* a little salt-sludge (add a few drops of water to salt until it looks like sand)
For the candied kumquats:
* 120g sugar
* 1 tbsp glucose (or honey)
* 2 tbsp water
* 200g kumquats, halved
* 2 tbsp pistachio kernels
* 2 tbsp cachaça or sake
For the black quinoa tabbouleh:
* 50g black quinoa
* 15g flat-leaf parsley
* 15g mint leaves
* 15g dill fronds
* 15g spring onions
* 25g banana shallot
* ½ small ripe avocado (about 75g, finely cubed)
For the dressing:
* 4 tbsp yuzu (or lemon) juice
* ½ tsp sugar
* 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1 red chilli (about 12g) deseeded and finely diced
* 1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes

For the garnish:
* a sprinkle of shichimi pepper
* Maldon sea salt flakes
* micro herbs
1. First, make the candied kumquat. Mix the sugar, glucose (or honey) and water in a small pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and bring it to 120C (248F).

2. Add the kumquat halves and the pistachios and cook for three minutes. Turn the heat off and let the sugar syrup cool. Once cool, add the cachaça or sake, whichever you prefer, and gently mix. Keep in a sterilised jar in the fridge until needed.
3. Next, prepare the tabbouleh. Add the quinoa to lightly salted boiling water (use twice the volume of water as quinoa) and once it returns to boiling point cover the pan and simmer very gently for 17 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and let it rest for a further five minutes, without taking the lid off. After this time, use a fork to fluff the quinoa. All the water should have been absorbed by the seeds, but if not cook the quinoa on a low heat, uncovered for a couple of minutes more until the water evaporates. Then, let the quinoa cool completely.
5. Make the dressing. In a bowl, combine the yuzu or lemon juice with the sugar, whisk well until the sugar has dissolved. Add the olive oil, chilli and salt, and mix until combined.
6. Next, finely chop the herbs, spring onions and finely dice the shallot. Now assemble the tabbouleh. In a separate bowl, gently mix the chopped herbs, spring onions and shallot into the cooked quinoa.

7. Drizzle over half of the tabbouleh dressing and mix well. Finally, fold the cubed avocado gently into the black quinoa tabbouleh to avoid breaking up the avocado. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside briefly.
8. If you have a blow-torch, brown the scallops on both sides until lightly charred; if you don’t have a blow-torch, heat a non-stick frying pan (or skillet) with a little olive oil until very hot and panfry the scallops for 30 seconds on each side.
9. Use the scallop shells to serve this dish. Put a mound of the salt sludge in the middle of a small serving plate on which the scallop shell will sit; this mixture will stop the shell rattling around the plate.
10. To serve, place a tablespoon of black quinoa tabbouleh in the middle of each scallop shell, top this with a charred scallop. Now add half a candied kumquat with a few pistachios by the side of each scallop with half a teaspoon of the kumquat liquor.

11. Then, using the reserved tabbouleh dressing, drizzle over the scallops, finishing with a sprinkle of shichimi pepper, Maldon sea salt flakes and a scattering of micro herbs.

 More from Nikkei Cuisine:

Nikkei Cuisine - Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara and published by Jacqui Small is out now, £25

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