It seems I am not alone in thinking that perhaps scallops are better raw than cooked. Mark Sargeant, Gordon Ramsay's right-hand man for many years and Michelin-starred chef in his own right, is apparently of the same opinion (see reference).
This recipe was inspired by so many different sources that it's impossible to list them all, but the idea for the presentation came from the link below. There is, of course, need for caution when serving raw seafood so, if in doubt, buying live scallops in the shell and shucking them yourself is optimal. However, in the summer we are fortunate to be able to buy super-fresh shucked scallops from the market - which is what I did here - but just made sure to use them very soon after I bought them.
This dish is very easy to make, but possibly challenging to prepare for a dinner party with many diners. This is because very little can be prepared ahead so that everything happens "à la minute". The apple will have a tendency to brown if left, the raw scallop should not be allowed to warm much, and if the tartare is prepared ahead, the scallop will cure and become more like a ceviche than a tartare. If in doubt, preparing the tartare in a bowl set over another ice-filled bowl is advised.
Scallop and Apple Tartare with Pickled Cucumber
Ingredients (quantities for 1 serving)
300g scallops, white part only, kept in the fridge until ready to prepare
1 eating apple, for example Braeburn or Granny Smith (only 1 tbsp will be used)
Cucumber, about a quarter
1 tsp chives, finely chopped
2 tsp dill, finely chopped
Ground white pepper
1 tsp apple vinegar (see link) or cider vinegar
Best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lime juice plus a little extra to dress
½ tsp caster sugar, plus a pinch extra
Peel the cucumber then very finely slice it and put in a shallow dish.
Mix the vinegar with 2 tbsp water, ½ tsp sea salt and the ½ tsp sugar. Cover the cucumber slices with the pickling liquor and refrigerate for about half an hour.
Before preparing the tartare, wash and drain the pickled cucumber, pat dry with kitchen paper and place in a small bowl. Drizzle with a few drops of the olive oil and the remaining chopped dill. Mix well and set aside.
Peel one side of the apple, cut a chunk of peeled apple off, and then cut into a heaped tbsp worth of 5mm dice. Place in a mixing bowl.
Remove the scallops from the fridge and cut the meat also into 5mm dice. Add to the diced apple with the chopped chives, the 1 tsp lime juice and a drizzle of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, then stir to allow the flavours to infuse for just a minute or so.
Arrange a layer of cucumber in the serving plate, place the tartare on top and then dress with a mixture of a little olive, a few drops of lime and a pinch of sugar. Serve immediately.
Belazu apple vinegar: https://www.belazu.com/shop/apple-vinegar
"How To Make A Delicious Scallop Tartare", Paul Webbe, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxLRrqkmB0k
"My Kind of Cooking", Mark Sargeant (2011) pp. 105: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Kind-Cooking-Mark-Sargeant/dp/0857381652