Wine pairing is one thing, but what matches perfectly with a Margarita? Enter the creamy, spicy, citrus-y scallop crudo, a classic Italian raw dish.
“With a Marg, you need something creamy to cut through the acid,” says Scott McComas-Williams, executive chef and co-owner of Ragazzi Wine and Pasta. “And with the fresh peas, it balances with a sharp Marg. It’s quite an interesting dish to put on a plate: raw scallops isn’t something you see around at every mate’s house.”
What drew McComas-Williams to scallops crudo – besides its balancing counterpoint to Ragazzi’s house-made Margarita – is its ease of assembly. You can make it in just 15 minutes, and even the shopping list is short: you just need sashimi-grade scallops and fresh peas, plus a few ingredients you may already have in your pantry. That includes some top-quality potato chips, which you’ll use to scoop up the scallops. Between the cream-and-citrus combo crème fraîche with finger lime and a quick jalapeno dressing, the crudo will be a lightning-fast addition to your kitchen repertoire.
Broadsheet Access members get special tables at busy restaurants, tickets to exclusive events and discounts on food, coffee, brand offers and more.Find out more
“It’s super simple,” says McComas-Williams. “Just get the best fresh scallops you can.” If you’re buying the scallops live from a market and shucking them yourself, you will need to remove the roe first. But there are even ways around that step, he says: “There’s some wonderful sashimi-grade product out there where that’s all done for you.”
The scallop crudo recipe he’s sharing with Broadsheet readers is a simplified version of a dish on Ragazzi’s menu. For someone who has their hands as full as McComas-Williams does – reopening Ragazzi as well as Fabbrica, Love, Tilly Devine and brand new venture La Salut – this streamlined version is ideal for getting the plate on the table quickly, with Marg firmly in hand.
As for the distinctive Ragazzi Margarita, it swaps out the usual triple sec for Acobia Bitter, an Italian artisanal aperitif sourced from the eatery’s extensive amari range. (But you can easily find it at specialty bottle shops and online.) The other levelling-up element comes from the use of smooth and rich Don Julio Reposado Tequila.
“I think it’s delicious,” says McComas-Williams of the barrel-aged tequila. “It’s just my go-to: it’s smoother, and with more flavour too.” The bitters, meanwhile, make for a less sweet Margarita and give the finished drink a nice rosy hue.
“And it pairs better with food, because it’s a bit more refined," he says.
Makes 1 serving. Approx. 1.7 standard drinks.
45ml Don Julio Reposado Tequila
20ml Acobia Bitter
20ml fresh lime juice
5ml simple syrup
Sea salt (a pinch for the drink and enough to rim the glasses)
Rub a little lime around the glasses then dip them in the sea salt and add a couple of ice cubes.
Add ingredients to a shaker over ice and give it hell. Have a taste: it may need a little more sugar syrup, depending on the lime and your preferred taste. Strain over ice into prepared glasses.
Scallop crudo with finger lime, fermented jalapeno and peas
Preparation time: 15 minutes
1 cup fresh peas
1 small bunch chives, roughly chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp crème fraîche
12 large sashimi-grade scallops, cut into 1cm pieces
1 finger lime
Potato chips, to serve
1 tsp fermented jalapenos (store-bought or homemade; see note below)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1½ tbsp white soy sauce
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Note: To ferment your own jalapenos, rough chop or blitz them, weigh and add 3 per cent of the total weight in salt. Mix together, pop in a jar and set aside unrefrigerated for at least 5 days. Use leftover fermented jalapenos for future snacks and cocktails.
Put a small pot of salted water on the stove on high heat. Once boiling, blanch the peas for around 1 minute before refreshing in a small bowl of iced water.
Take half the blanched peas and pop them in a food processor along with the chopped chives, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a little pinch of white pepper. Give it a quick whiz till the mix has a crushed look. Fold through the crème fraîche and give it a little taste of salt. It will taste like it needs acid but stay strong: it is getting a hit of finger lime, lemon and fermented chilli, not to mention the Marg alongside it.
Spread the pea and crème fraîche mix onto a plate. Add the rest of the peas to a bowl with the scallops. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and add enough to the scallop and pea mix to coat. Cut the finger lime in half, squeeze half the pearls into the bowl and gently fold together. Give it a taste: check if it needs a touch of salt. If it’s a little too acidic, add a splash of olive oil to balance.
Pile the scallop and peas atop the crème fraîche platform and squeeze the rest of the finger-lime pearls over the dish to finish. Serve with potato chips on the side.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Don Julio.