Butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Roast Scallop, Spinach and Cajun Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

INGREDIENTS

For the soup
— 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
— 1 garlic clove
— 30g butter
— 200g butternut squash – peeled and chopped
— 100ml chicken stock
— 100ml milk
— 50g melted butter mixed with 25g flour
— 50g grated Parmesan cheese
— Salt and pepper to season
For the spinach:
— 120g spinach (around 30g per soup portion)
— zest of one orange
— salt and pepper, to taste
Scallops:
— 4 large king scallops (1 per soup portion)
Garnish (optional):
—pumpkin seeds lightly toasted in sesame oil and Cajun spices. Crème fraiche. Fine sliced chives. Fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into lozenges.

METHOD

— Sweat the onion and garlic in the butter until the onion is translucent and you are able to squash it with no resistance.
— Add the liquids and the butternut squash; bring to the boil and simmer until the squash is cooked. Add the butter and flour mix and the Parmesan; this should thicken the soup slightly.
— Blend to a smooth puree and pass through a sieve, now check the seasoning.
— For the spinach: mix in orange zest, finely ground white pepper and salt. Steam for around 1 minute until wilted. Distribute equally among soup portions.
— For the scallops: allow one large king scallop per portion, there is a sinew on the side that is inedible and needs to be gently cut or pulled off. (NB the orange bit is an acquired taste but you can serve it). Make sure the scallops are dry before cooking (kitchen paper will do) lightly oil them both sides and season. Use a heavy bottomed frying pan to fry the scallops; get the pan very hot, then place the scallops in, cook for around 1 ½ minutes on one side, 1 minute on the other side. The scallop should still be slightly pink in the middle.
— Garnish with pumpkin seeds lightly toasted in sesame oil and Cajun spices. Add Crème fraiche, Fine sliced chives, Fresh plum tomatoes (peeled, deseeded and cut into lozenge) if you like.