I am a true water baby; a product of my upbringing, a child of the sea.
The ocean has been part of my life since before I could walk and now, as an adult, it’s a place of sanctuary and comfort – whether gloriously sunny and flat as turquoise glass, or stormy, wind-whipped and grey.
Swimming out beyond where I can stand and leaving the shore behind, it’s akin to leaving the world and my life on the other side.
That detachment – both physically and figuratively – brings a great sense of tranquillity and freedom.
Here are a few photos from my local beach and also a recipe that utilises one of the best crops the ocean has to offer – scallops.
seared scallops, smokey chorizo
& roasted capsicum
from the december 2010 issue of delicious. magazine
3 red capsicums (peppers)
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
4 eschalots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 chorizos (about 250g), peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
16 large scallops on the half shell, orange roe removed
½ tsp smoked paprika
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
Place the capsicums on a baking tray and roast for 20 – 25 minutes, turning once, until the skins are charred and the flesh is tender.
Remove from the oven, seal in a plastic bag and leave to cool. The plastic bag will cause the capsicums to sweat and makes them easier to peel.
Meanwhile, cut a small cross in the base of each tomato. Blanch in a large saucepan for 20 seconds, then plunge into ice water for 30 seconds.
Peel, remove the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Set aside.
Once cool enough to handle, split the capsicums over a bowl to collect all the juices.
Remove and discard the skin and seeds, then finely chop. Add the chopped capsicum and juices to the tomatoes and set aside.
Heat some olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add the eschalots, garlic and chorizo.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for several minutes or until the eschalots and garlic are soft and the chorizo is browned.
Add the paprika, tomatoes and capsicum to the pan and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes on low until the excess moisture has evaporated. You want the sauce to be thick but not dry.
Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and season to taste. Keep the sauce warm while you cook the scallops.
Remove the scallops from their shells and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of the scallops with a little salt and pepper.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frypan over high heat. In two batches, sear the scallops for a minute on each side until golden but still translucent in the centre.
Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops.
Divide the chorizo and capsicum mixture among the cleaned scallop shells and top each with a scallop.