Seared scallops with chilli, parsley & tempura onion rings

Photographer: Emma
4 as an apetizer

Yesterday I told of my unpleasant and embarrassing encounter with a raw scallop  Today I am just going to tell you to how lucky we are to live in New Zealand as no matter where we live, we are no more that a hop, skip and a jump to the sea.  After visiting a bit more of the world and meeting folks from Europe, Asia and America I have realised how common it is for some to only very rarely see the world’s great oceans and seas.

Many of us would have taken advantage of our water’s plentiful bounty this Summer…..whilst hopefully being kind to Tangaroa (our Maori god of the sea).

You can use this recipe for most seafood: white fish, crayfish (or lobster) even prawns and (fresh, uncooked) oysters.


500g scallops (or other seafood)
1tsp each of oil and butter for frying

2tbsp cider vinegar
1 shallot, chopped finely
½ red chilli, chopped finely
2tbsp parsley, chopped finely
1tsp sugar
2tbsp olive oil

Onion rings
½ batch of tempura batter from Tempura Scallops
(1/2 egg, beaten, 1/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup cornflour, 1/2 cup soda water (icy))
2 onions

500ml cooking oil for frying
Baby cos lettuce (I actually used standard cos and cut the leaves smaller using kitchen scissors)


1. Mix all vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.
2. Make up the tempura batter as per Tempura Scallops
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Once the oil is hot (I add a drop of the tempura batter to the oil to see if it bubbles), coat the onion rings in batter and deep fry them for 2-4 minutes.
Note: if the oil is smoking, it’s too hot. You want it at a medium to hot temperature so when the onion rings in batter are dropped in, they sizzle and float to the top.
Just deep fry a couple at a time. Drop them into the batter with tongs, they should rise to the top (give them a scrape off the bottom of the pot if they won’t budge). Then when they are floating on the top of the oil you can turn them to achieve an even golden colour.
4. Take the onion rings out of the oil and lay them straight on paper towels to drain the oil.
5. Dry scallops between paper towels or a clean tea towel.
6. To a hot frypan, add a little oil and butter (1tsp of each). Cook the scallops for 2-3 minutes each size (depending on the size of your scallops).
7. Arrange the cos on a platter. Top each cos leaf with 1 or 2 onion rings and a seared scallop.
8. Spoon a little of the vinaigrette over and serve immediately.