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Pan Seared Scallops, Blanched Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce

(Serves 6)
Pan Seared Scallops, Blanched Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce This is one of our more up market starters in this section but it makes a very refreshing and impressive starter for a dinner party.

Also you can make the Hollandaise sauce and serve it with any of your preferred fish options.

Chopped mint in the hollandaise makes a nice pauloise sauce for lamb but that's another story for another day.

To serve this starter at its best it must be cooked to order but you can have this cheats version of hollandaise made a little in advance of your dinner party - but rest assured everything cooks quite quickly.
Ingredients:

- 18 asparagus tips
- 18 scallops (I like to remove the orange roe but that's a personal choice)
1oz/25g butter

Hollandaise Sauce:

- 3 large egg yolks
- 5ml/1 teaspoon white wine
vinegar / lemon juice
- 8oz/225g butter - melted
completely
- 2 dessertspoons of boiling
water (if required)
- Ground white pepper

Begin by making the hollandaise sauce.
Heat a large saucepan of water and keep it on a very gentle simmer. You can use this water to cook the asparagus later on.
Begin by fully melting the butter and allow remove it from the heat-keep it warm but not bubbling. (Luke warm is fine)
Choose a large spotless clean bowl (either glass or stainless steel) and put the egg yolks in there with the white wine vinegar or lemon juice.
Place the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk at all times until the egg yolks become light and creamy in both colour and consistency.
You need to be very careful at this stage because the line between creamy and scrambled is indeed very fine!!
Pour in the melted butter very slowly whilst continuing to whisk at all times.
It's a bit of a balancing act at this stage because you will need to take the bowl on and off of the saucepan whilst whisking in the butter but do persevere - the end result is worth it all.
If after adding all the butter the sauce is still a little thick for your liking whisk in the boiling water.
Season to taste.
I find it best to store the sauce for up to an hour in a china teapot kept near the cooker.
Meanwhile cut the asparagus and drop into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until just tender - this should take no more than 2-3 minutes ensureing that they keep their green colour.
Heat a large pan and add the butter until bubbling.
Lay the scallops out flat on a plate or chopping board.
Season the scallops with a little salt and black pepper.
Toss them into the pan and cook for 1 minute on either side on a very hot pan until golden brown.
Allow to sit for a further moment and then prepare to serve.
Lay the three stems of asparagus on the service plate, rest the scallops on top and drizzle the plate with a little of the hollandaise sauce.
Serve immediately.
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