Scallops, peas and bacon are a classic combination, offering sweetness and saltiness. If you can’t get pea shoots (though supermarkets now stock them), use watercress instead, removing the coarse stalks (and use for soup).
Your fishmonger will prepare scallops for you (ask him to remove the little white ligament on the side of each scallop as well). Then all you have to do is make sure they’re dry – blot them with kitchen paper before you cook them – as wet scallops will just steam, and you want to get a good golden crust on them.
Scallops are something I buy for myself when I’m on my own (or with one loved friend who will appreciate them). Some foods really are better eaten this way. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re a treat. I never feel guilty that I’m not serving them up to half a dozen people. The cooking is done in a trice, the washing up is minimal and I can enjoy them in the peace and quiet they deserve.
To make the dressing: mix the lemon juice, olive oil, cream, mint and water in a small bowl. Season and set aside.
To make the salad: boil or steam the potatoes until tender, then cover to keep them warm.
Heat half the oil in a small non-stick pan and fry the bacon on both sides, until cooked through. It should be soft, not crispy. Cut each rasher in half.
Cook the peas in boiling water until al dente. Drain and run cold water over them. Toss into a bowl with the bacon. Carefully slice the potatoes if they are on the large size and put them in the bowl too, along with the pea shoots.
Pat each scallop dry with kitchen paper – they don’t brown well if they are wet. Brush each one with olive oil and season. Heat a frying pan until very hot. Cook the scallops over a high heat for about a minute each side (then cut into the flesh and see how they’re doing – you might have to cook them for another 30 seconds on each side, possibly more, depending on their thickness). Season and squeeze over lemon juice as soon they are ready.
Toss most of the dressing with the ingredients in the bowl and put the scallops on top. Drizzle the rest of the dressing on top and serve.