- First make the syrupy dressing by putting the sugar, water and lemongrass or zest into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and continue to cook until the mixture is slightly reduced and syrupy.
- Turn the heat off and add the fish sauce, limejuice and chilli, taste and adjust accordingly. You are after a good balance of salty sweet and sour, with a touch of heat. Leave on the stove to keep warm.
- This salad can be served as individual portions on a Chinese spoon as a nibble, on small plates as a starter or on a large platter as a salad for sharing. Regardless of which size you are preparing, the method for assembly is essentially the same.
- Lay the watercress on the serving dish. Preheat a griddle pan or grated BBQ until smoking hot. Sear the scallops until you see the bottom of the side of the scallop starting to turn white. As soon as you see that, turn immediately. It’s really important not to overcook the scallops, so watch them carefully. Remember that they will continue cooking after they are removed from the pan and they are always better a little under than a little over.
- Scatter the scallops over the watercress, dot with crème fraiche and drizzle with warm dressing, serve immediately.
Image: courtesy Whitianga Scallop Festival
Recipe: Lana Garland, Whitianga Scallop Festival