Orkney Scallops, Pea Puree, Bacon Jam and Lemon by Simon Attridge, Executive Chef at Gleneagles

As the summer months finally arrive, we often turn our attention to lighter, fresher menus, which celebrate the delicious abundance of Scottish seafood readily available at this time of year.

Crystal-clear waters and the North Atlantic Drift make Orkney a seafood paradise. Hand-dived scallops from the Northern Isles are amongst the finest in the world and one of my all-time favourite locally-sourced ingredients.

Here at Gleneagles, we are fortunate to receive a daily supply of the freshest, sweetest hand-dived Orkney scallops all year round from seafood specialists, George Campbell & Sons in Perth. The family firm has been working with Scotland’s fishing industry for over 140 years and has established a lasting reputation for providing the finest fresh fish, shellfish and smoked fish in Scotland.

This classic Orkney scallop dish now takes centre stage on the menu at The Strathearn, our famous fine dining restaurant, which recently re-opened to the public following a full design transformation.

In this classic recipe, the scallop is the king ingredient and in my opinion is a thing of beauty. The saltiness of the bacon jam and the acidity of the lemon complements the sweetness of the scallop beautifully.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare most of it in advance, so you can take your time. Taking scallops out of the shell and removing the roe is easy, but if you’re daunted by the prospect, your fishmonger will be happy to do this for you.

If you’re trying out this recipe at home, make sure your pan is at sizzling temperature before adding the scallops. This will help enhance the golden colour and glazed appearance. Scallops can cook more quickly than you might expect, so only pan fry them for around one minute on each side.

If you’re looking a wine to complement this dish perfectly, look no further than a glass of crisp white Burgundy. Enjoy!

Serves 6 as a starter


12 good size hand-dived scallops

Rapeseed oil, for frying

Squeeze of lemon juice

For the pea puree:

100g frozen peas, defrosted

50g white chicken stock

90g fresh peas

Salt, to taste

For the bacon jam:

50g pancetta, diced finely

20g Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar

20g caster sugar

5g maple syrup

For the bacon crisps:

150g block pancetta

For the lemon puree:

2 lemons

25g caster sugar

8g lemon juice

8g rapeseed oil

For the lemon thyme gel:

40g lemon juice, freshly squeezed

40g water

40g caster sugar

1.2g agar

4g lemon thyme, leaves only

1. First, make the pea puree. Boil the white chicken stock and add the defrosted peas. Blitz to a fine puree and season with salt. Pod and boil the fresh peas in salted water until just cooked and set aside.

2. Next, make the bacon jam. Fry the pancetta until crispy and drain off excess fat. Deglaze with vinegar. Add sugar and reduce to jam consistency, then add maple syrup, remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. Next, make the bacon crisps. Freeze the pancetta first and carve on a slicing machine to a thickness of 1mm. Place on greaseproof paper and cook at 120°C until golden and crispy, then leave to rest and drain on a j-cloth.

4. Next, make the lemon puree. Peel the lemons, remove pith and blanch. Refresh the water six times to take away the bitterness. Segment the lemons and the juice. Add the sugar and cook to a jam consistency. Blend to a smooth paste and add the fresh lemon juice and rapeseed oil to emulsify.

5. Next, make the lemon thyme gel. Boil the lemon juice, water and sugar, then add the agar, whisk and boil for a further one minute. Add the lemon thyme and infuse for 25 minutes. Sieve the liquid into a container and leave to set. Once set, blitz into a gel and place into a squeezy bottle ready to serve.

6. To serve, swipe the lemon puree on the plate. Warm up the peas in the pea puree and place on the plate. Cook the scallops until golden and just cooked in rapeseed oil with a squeeze of lemon juice at the end. Add the bacon jam to the top of each scallop and place on the peas. Squeeze dots of lemon thyme gel over the dish and finish with bacon crisp and drizzle of rapeseed oil.