100ml rice wine vinegar
1/3 of a cucumber, finely diced 1 shallot, finely diced
1 small red chilli 1⁄2 tsp salt 6 large scallops, in their shells
a small handful fresh coriander, chopped sea salt and ground black pepper
After all that paddling around on surfboards or using up energy simply soaking up the sun, these little babies are a scrumptious appetiser before the main event. Scallops are such a luxury, yet they can be quite inexpensive when bought in season. Look out for scallops that have been harvested by hand-diving as these are more environmentally sustainable than those that have been dredged from the sea bed.
Put the vinegar, sugar and 60ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then gently simmer until it is a syrupy consistency, but not too thick. Add more vinegar and a little more sugar if it becomes too gloopy. Let the syrup cool, then add the cucumber, shallot, chilli and salt. Pour the sauce into a lidded jar. It is best to make and use this sauce on the same day, but it doesn’t hurt to keep it in the fridge or a cooler until ready to use.
If the scallops need preparing, use a spoon to remove them from the shell (reserve the shells) and clean thoroughly by removing the frill, the black stomach sack and any other debris. (You could get your fishmonger to do this for you). You can then put the scallops back in their shells and wrap up well in a layer of parchment paper and then cling film/plastic wrap. As with all seafood, they must be kept at a very cool temperature until you are ready to cook them, so make sure they are next to the ice packs and well chilled in a cool box before grilling.
Place six shell halves onto a very hot barbecue/grill or straight onto the burning coals – the hotter the shells get the better. Now season the scallops and place one into each curve of the very hot shells, then place the other six shell halves on top to act as a lid. Cook for three minutes before turning the shells over and cooking on the other side for a further two to three minutes. Remove the shells from the heat and arrange on a serving platter.
Take the top shell lid off all the scallops, gently spoon over some of the Thai sauce and sprinkle over some chopped coriander. If you simply can’t wait to gobble the scallop down, use a fork to spear the scallop and eat with gusto before waiting for the shell to cool enough to knock the juices back.
A Perfect Day for a Picnic: Over 80 recipes for outdoor feasts to share with family and friends by Tori Finch is published by Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99, www.rylandpeters.com. Photography by Georgia Glynn-Smith