Sunday, 18 January 2009

Farmer's Market and Scallops

Bright and early on Saturday morning, E, H (two of my flatmates) and myself ventured to the weekly farmers' market in town. Although it was freezing cold, it was better than last time we went as it wasn't raining. It's very rare that you don't encounter some kind of precipitation in Edinburgh, and it did rain later in the day.

I took this photo while we ate breakfast. We did consider the Stoats Porridge van (I am particularly in love with the cranachan variety, although the cold on Saturday was tempting me toward the whisky and honey flavour), but in the end we went for a roast hog roll, with crackling and apple sauce from the Oink van. I love the way they only have one product (a big pig, complete with head and trotters, that slowly gets eaten at the market goes on) and that your only choices are crackling and sauce. No vegetarian option, no low-carb rolls, just pig. Delicious.

We went round the stalls and picked up quite a few goodies. E got a massive red mullet, weighing in at almost half a kilo. He's planning to stuff it with fennel and roast it whole. H got some lemon curd from the dairy woman, and I bought some butter in preparation for the impending butter tasting session.

I also got some Jerusalem artichokes and carrots. I'm planning to make them into soup. I've never had Jerusalem artichokes before so I wonder how they will taste. All the vegetables were still muddy from the field, so when I got home I gave them all a good scrub. It was very satisfying to scrape off the mud and dirt to reveal bright orange carrots underneath. The Jerusalem artichokes were less handsome to look at but they are getting pureed so it doesn't matter!

Lastly, H and I bought 8 scallops to have for lunch. I love scallops but have always been too scared to cook them myself in case I poison someone or just make them taste horrible. We fried off a little garlic in butter, and then added it to some more butter to make garlic topping. The left over garlicky butter in the pan was used to fry the scallops. I was terrified of overcooking them, but also eager to get them a bit brown and warmed through.

We served them on a little bit of pesto with the garlic butter topping. The pesto went well with the corals, and I had my scallops really garlicky, as I love garlic a little bit too much! It was great to have really fresh seafood, and I was pleased that we managed to sear the scallops without making them all rubbery. I think next time I would get the pan hotter as I felt they were a bit too cooked, but some of them weren't caramelised enough.

There are a couple of really good fishmongers around here, plus the farmers' market has 3 or 4 stalls that sell seafood (some of it still alive), so there is no excuse for not eating more fish. It's a shame Scotland has such a bad reputation for food, a lot of the produce is amazing, especially the seafood and game, but it all seems to get exported in favour of deep fried Mars bars...

Scallops with garlic butter and pesto