The contrast of the rich earthy flavour of the nettles paired with the sweet and textural addition of the scallops is delicious. Another way I like to serve this soup is with a perfectly poached egg and, even better still, a poached duck egg – when available at the market.
When handling nettles be sure to wear latex or rubber gloves, remove the leaves and wash well, discarding the stems.
1 medium onion diced
1 clove garlic
1 medium desiree potato, peeled and diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of dried chilli
1 litre chicken stock
200g picked young nettle leaves – approximately 1 large bunch
18 large scallops – roe intact
Ground black pepper
In a stainless steel saucepan melt the butter and oil together and add the onion. Cook gently until soft and aromatic, taking care not to colour the onion. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes followed by the stock, potato and dried chilli. Bring to a simmer, and when the potato is cooked add the nettles. Continue simmering for three minutes. Remove from the heat, puree and pass through a fine sieve.
Just prior to serving, heat a heavy based or non-stick fry pan and add a teaspoon of oil. Season the scallops, then in batches of six panfry on each side for a minute or two until caramelised then arrange in soup bowls. Meanwhile, bring the soup to a simmer, add the cream and a good pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
To serve, either pour the soup into a large jug and serve at table, or arrange the scallops in the serving bowls and ladle soup around the scallops.