Scallops three ways and langoustines over birch wood fire
12 Large scallops cleaned with/without roe
Scallop shells cleaned
12 large langoustines
Garlic, finely chopped
Parsley, finely chopped
Apricot BBQ sauce
Set the fire pit and burn down the logs until you have a good bed of embers and some burning wood but a light clean smoke. This should take about an hour, start with kindling and two/three logs to form the fire and ember bed then add a further two/three small logs allowing these to burn down and you to spread out the fire to provide an even heat across the fire pit. Cooking with large flame will burn the food and give an acrid taste. I tend to start the fire with ash to give a slow burning bed of embers then add birch which will burn quicker and give a light complementary flavour profile to fish and seafood.
Add 2-3 scallops, depending on size, and a little butter to each shell.
The three ways are:
butter, garlic and parsley;
butter and Nduja;
butter and apricot bbq sauce.
Wash in cold water and check the langoustines and leave whole. An alternative if they are particularly large is to split them lengthways to allow basting of the flesh whilst cooking. Prepare a sauce pan suitable for the live fire with the unsalted butter, chopped garlic and parsley. I have a lodge cast iron sauce pan for this.
The scallops were placed directly above the fire in the shells to cook; with the butter, garlic and parsley ones all the ingredients were added in the shell from the start. The nduja was added as they began to sizzle in the butter. I did the same for the remaining ones, the apricot bbq sauce was added as a baste as they started to cook.
As the scallops cook they will take on solid white colour rather than opaque, they can be turned as the bottoms will take colour as the shell heats up, the bbq sauce will caramelise therefore, a further coating is added towards the end of the cook. The nduja will melt and the fat in the sausage will separate and combine with the butter and cooking juices. The scallops will take around 8-10 minutes to cook through depending on how hot the fire is, however, keep an eye on hotter and cooler areas of the fire and move them around with a set of tongs to get an even cook to each shell. Don’t be concerned if a few stick to the shells or the sauce burns slightly around the edges as the scallops themselves will be fine in this time. Serve these immediately in the shell on a large platter.
For the langoustines place the sauce pan with the butter, garlic and parsley on the edge of the fire to melt.
The langoustines again were placed directly above the fire firstly legs down and stretched out over the fire to give and even cook. Again, look for hotter and cooler spots across the fire and move them around to suit. Leave for 2-3 minutes until they begin to char on the edges then turn onto their backs, at this point baste with the melted butter garlic parsley using a suitable brush. The fire will flare up with the fat dripping onto the fire however, this will subside but be careful to move them around with tongs if excessive flames continue in one spot. Cook for another 3 minutes or so before serving on a large plate with a final baste.
One of the surprises here is the apricot sauce on the scallops, the sweet fruity bbq tang works really well with the scallops, I have used the Traeger one here. The other revalation is the nduja with the scallops, this gives a spicy deep flavoured hit which works so well with seafood, similar to a spicy chorizo does. I can see this working with large prawns, squid, octopus, possibly mussels with cider and firm fleshed white such as hake or monkfish; one I will certainly try again…