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Seared Scallops with Sesame Pork, XO Dressing and Shiso

Made at The Ivy | Serves 4

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There are no two ways about it – this dish is a lot of work, so only make it for someone you really want to impress! The combination of sticky pork and seared scallops, the salty XO dressing and the fragrant shiso leaves make this a must-try dish, and one that yields spectacular results in terms of flavour and presentation.

1.5kg pork belly

16 scallops, trimmed

Sunflower oil, for deep-frying and cooking the scallops

3 tbsp white and black sesame seeds, toasted

1 punnet of micro shiso cress (substitute coriander if you like), to garnish

 

Marinade

3 tbsp grated ginger

2 tsp caster (granulated) sugar

2 tsp salt

300ml light soy sauce

 

XO Dressing

6 tbsp XO paste

150ml fish stock (broth)

3 tbsp sesame oil

3 tbsp sunflower oil

 

Sauce

2 garlic cloves

6-8 coriander roots

1 tsp white peppercorns, ground to a fine powder

1 tbsp sunflower oil

60ml fish sauce

240g palm sugar, grated

 

 

For the marinade, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Score the pork fat deeply in a criss-cross pattern and rub the marinade all over it. Cover and chill in the fridge for 12 hours, or overnight, turning the pork belly over in the marinade after about 6 hours.

Meanwhile, make the XO dressing. Whisk the XO paste with the fish stock in a small pan over a low heat. Once hot and smooth, remove from the heat, leave to cool slightly, then whisk in the sesame and sunflower oils and set aside.

For the sauce, pound the garlic and coriander roots in a pestle and mortar, add the white pepper and continue to pound into a smooth paste. Spoon the paste into a small pan, add the sunflower oil and cook over a low heat for 1 minute. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar, stir to melt the sugar and bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Wipe the excess marinade off the pork and steam in a steamer for 1.5 hours until tender. Remove from the steamer and place the pork on a board lined with silicone paper or baking parchment. Cover the meat with another piece of paper and a chopping board. Rest a few pots or pans on the board to weight the meat down and leave to press for 6-8 hours, chilling once the pork is cold.

Pour enough sunflower oil into a deep-fryer and heat to 180°C/350°F. Lay the pressed pork belly on a chopping board and trim the edges to neaten, peel off and discard the top layer of fat. Cut the meat into neat, 1-2cm square pieces, and deep-fry in batches for about 2 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then steam the pork again until hot.

Reheat the sauce in a large pan, add the pork cubes and mix. Keep warm until serving.

Season the scallops and toss in a little sunflower oil. Sear in a hot, dry frying pan for 2 minutes on each side.

To serve, drag a spoonful of the XO dressing in 2 lines on the plates and arrange the scallops and pork in the centre. Garnish with the sesame seeds and shiso cress and serve.

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