This recipe claims no historical authenticity but is inspired by the first cookbook to be published in Portugal – Domingos Rodrigues’ Arte de Cozinha (1680). The book is a fascinating journey into a world of flavours that combine recently available spices like saffron, cinnamon and cardamon with european cooking methods. Th Portuguese discoveries of the XIV and XV century transformed the larder of not only Portuguese society but all of Europe as well bringing old Portuguese techniques to South America, India, China and Japan!
The sauce presented here is inspired by a combination of almond flour and egg yolk which seems to have been used as a standard technique for providing body and texture to sauces and soups in Rodrigues’ book. We use it here to produce a light and delicate sauce flavoured with mussel juice, served with roast asparagus.
1 tbsp Coconut oil (or grape seed oil)
Salt and pepper
Bunch of Asparagus
Nori seaweed sprinkles (optional)
For the sauce
10 cherry tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp almond flour
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp mussel juice (sauce from cooking mussels Bulhão Pato)
1. Toss the tomatoes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 15 minutes in a hot oven.
2. To cook the asparagus, toss them with a little olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice on a roasting tin. Cook in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes turning once.
3. Continue to make the sauce: in a blender, mix the tomatoes (after cooling down a little) with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
4. Clean the scallops and pat dry, pan fry in a hot pan with coconut oil. Add some salt and pepper as the scallops are frying. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Towards the end of cooking squeeze a few drops of lemon juice.
5. Just before serving warm up and slightly thicken the sauce.
6. Serve the scallops on a bed of asparagus and spoon the sauce generously. Garnish with nori seaweed sprinkles if using.