Scallop and English asparagus with Grana Padano

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Scallop and English asparagus with Grana Padano


. Difficulty: Medium . Serves: 4 people


Italians do not mix cheese and seafood but I will make one exception to the rule with scallops. These work well with the delicate flavour of Grana Padano 9-16 months, here mixed into the crispy breadcrumb coating. Soaking asparagus in iced water will remove their bitterness and give them a lovely crunch. This dish is all about texture, rounded off by the sweetness of the scallop and the zing of the herb dressing.


200g green asparagus
For the dressing:
30g parsley leaves 
30g tarragon 
5g pine kernels
10g Grana Padano 9-16 months, grated
130ml extra virgin olive oil
20g cooked peas, peeled and split in half
For the scallops:
25g dry breadcrumbs
15g Grana Padano 9-16 months, grated
5g chives, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 scallops 
2 tablespoons olive oil


Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice the asparagus and soak in iced water for about an hour.
Prepare the dressing. Pick the parsley and tarragon leaves, discarding the larger tougher stems. Blanch the parsley leaves in boiling water for a few seconds, drain, run under cold water and squeeze dry. Place in a tall jar with the tarragon leaves, Grana Padano, pine kernels, salt and pepper and about 50ml of olive oil. Using a hand held mixer, start blending, slowly adding the rest of the oil, until you get a creamy fluid dressing. Set aside.
Mix the breadcrumbs, Grana Padano, chives and seasoning. Coat the scallops with the breadcrumbs and pan-fry in the olive oil on medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. 
Drain the asparagus and dry them on kitchen paper. Spread on a serving plate, drizzle with the dressing then scatter with peas, place the scallops on top and share.
Francesco Mazzei