Bere Malt Vinegar and scallops: Orkney Craft Vinegar
Sam Britten of Orkney Craft Vinegar cooked a version of this when I was visiting, and he has happily allowed me to include my way of doing it here. He – and I – make it with his ‘bere’ malt vinegar, which is produced using Orkney's ancient bere grain. It is one of the few examples of Britain’s ancient vinegar being revived by an artisan. The buttery sauce and fatty scallops are gorgeously tempered by the sharpness of the vinegar and its sweet, malty note. A few barely dressed rocket leaves are all else that is needed.
16 shelled scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil
75ml malt vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pat dry and season the scallops. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then sit the scallops in the pan. Turn them after 2 minutes, when they should have taken on a gentle brown colour. Give them another minute, then add half the butter. Let it melt and, as it does, use it to baste the scallops; you will need to gently tilt the pan.
The butter will quickly turn a nutty brown, and at this point pour over 50ml of the vinegar. Cook for another 30 seconds, then lift the scallops out. Turn up the heat, add the remaining butter and vinegar and allow to bubble, stirring all the time, to reduce to a lovely sauce. Pour over the scallops and serve with a grinding of pepper over the top.
From The Vinegar Cupboard by Angela Clutton published in March 2019 by Bloomsbury Absolute.