It’s been a while since we’ve tried a Mystery Bag Challenge, so I decided to put my healthy eating aside for a day and give it another go!
Today’s challenge comes to you from Nell – her suggestion of Scallops, Shallots, Pasta & Creme Fraiche was drawn at random, and I added an additional couple of ingredients. See Tidy Tweaks, though, for suggestions without the additions!
I’m quite proud of this, as lately I’ve been sharing my attempts at other people’s recipes (largely due to the fat club thing). This one, though, I conceptualised myself from the list of ingredients, and I think it makes for a good overall plate. Obviously pairings like scallops and chorizo are already recognised, but I brought the ensemble together myself, and used techniques that I thought might work. It’s also my first time cooking Scallops and Orzo (I’d never even tasted the latter before!)
So here we have it! Get stuck in, and don’t forget to let me know how you find it, or what you’d try with the ingredients!
5 King Scallops (on the half shell)
100ml White Wine
2tsp lazy garlic
2tbsp Creme Fraiche
I ate all of this as a meal for one, although it could (should) suit two as a lighter meal… you may want to up the number of scallops, though!
In this version, perhaps the best option is for it to serve five as a tapas dish.
1. First you’ll have to remove the scallops from the shells, and give the shells a good scrub – you’re going to use them to serve later, so you don’t want raw bits on there!
2. Slice one of the shallots into rings, popping out the middles and then creating individual rings. Reserve the “middles” and sprinkle the rings with a little salt, to dry them out a bit.
2.5 Dice the other Shallot, and chop up the reserved “middles”
3. Cut half of the chorizo into slices, on the angle. Cut the other half into small cubes.
4. Add the Orzo to a pan of salted, boiling water for 8 minutes..
5. Meanwhile Gently fry the chopped shallots in a little oil (or frylight) over a low heat – you only want them to sweat down a bit, not colour. After a few minutes, add in the garlic, and give it a good stir.
6. Pop the deep fat fryer on to 190ºc (or heat some oil in a pan, but I ran out of rings!)
7. Add the wine to the shallots, and turn up the heat to reduce to about one third.
8. Pop the sliced chorizo into a cold griddle, over a high heat, and let it sizzle for a minute until the oil runs freely.
9. Meanwhile, give the shallot rings a bit of a press in the middle of a folded tea-towel, to squeeze out some more moisture – be gentle, though, as you don’t want to squish them! Give them a good dusting of flour, and toss to coat well.
10. Turn over the chorizo slices, and add the chopped chorizo and Scallops. Continue to fry for a minute.
11. Drop the shallot rings into the deep fat fryer.
12. Turn the Scallops over, and fry for another minute.
13. Meanwhile, take the orzo off the heat, and drain. Stir the white wine/shallot/garlic mixture through it, along with the Creme Fraiche and chopped chorizo. All being well, you should end up with something that vaguely resembles a risotto.
14. Pop a couple of spoonfuls of the orzo onto each scallop shell, and top with a couple of slices of chorizo, a scallop, and some fried shallot rings.
Technically, Tesco should’ve won this week, at £13.44 as they are the only one of the big four who sell fresh scallops on the shell online. However, as the original Mystery Bag Challenge didn’t specify that the scallops should be on the shell, I’ve knocked their price down from £5 to the £4 they charge for fresh raw scallops without the shell (the equivalent I’ve costed the others at).
And so, Morrisons actually win this week, quite far ahead at £11.16. Tesco, perhaps justly, take second with their adjusted price of £12.44. Their Orzo is ridiculously overpriced compared to the other supermarkets, but even at the lowest price, Morrisons still would’ve won comfortably.
ASDA came in third, only 2p behind Tesco at £12.46 while Sainsburys are back to their familiar last place after a few weeks surprising us all, with their offering of £13.35.
As I mentioned above, the version I’ve presented here is already a tweak on the original Mystery Bag Challenge. A straighter take does without the chorizo, wine, and garlic. For this version, just fry the scallops in oil or frylight, and add the sweated-down shallots to the orzo at the same stage as above, along with the creme fraiche. You may want to include an extra tablespoon, to make up for the missing liquid of the wine.
The scallop shells aren’t really necessary, I just thought it was worth being a little pretentious this week! You could spoon the pasta into gratin dishes, and serve the scallops on top, like so:
You could also bake the orzo in the gratins before adding the scallops, but I wasn’t sure how the creme fraiche would hold up to that.
I’ve heard that bacon or pancetta work well with scallops, so if you’re not a huge chorizo fan you could swap that out (although as above, you can leave the chorizo out completely).
My preference would also be to use fat free fromage frais rather than creme fraiche…. although as this isn’t intended to be a fat fighters recipe, there’s nothing stopping you from using cream! I like to think some asparagus would go well with this, too!
If you’re not a huge fan of pasta, you could use risotto instead, for a similar effect. If it’s the effect that’s the problem, then maybe this would work well in a tagliatelle?
So many options! What would you have done with that Mystery Bag?