CRISPY EGGPLANT, SEA SCALLOPS, XO, STREAKY BACON

ROB COCKERILL, HEAD CHEF — BENNELONG RESTAURANT, SYDNEY

Serves 4

XO SAUCE
13g ginger, peeled
13g garlic, peeled
25g shallots, peeled
25ml grapeseed oil
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
2 raw scallops, finely diced
60g Korean fermented chilli paste
13g caster sugar
250ml chicken stock

Finely chop the ginger in a food processor. Remove and reserve. Repeat for garlic then repeat for eshallots. Ensure they do not turn to liquid when blitzing. Into a heavy based pot with a large surface area, over a medium heat, add the grapeseed oil, ginger, garlic and eshallots. Gently sweat off ensuring not to colour. When cooked add in the shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 1min. Add in the scallops and fry-off for approx 1 to 2min until the moisture has dissipated. Add the fermented chilli paste and sugar. Cook and stir for 1 to 2min ensuring it does not stick to the base of the pot. Add the chicken stock and reduce until it turns to a thick consistency. Stir to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Refrigerate.

EGGPLANT
180ml sparkling mineral water
1 tsp (level) xanthan
25g tapioca flour (batter)
25g rice flour (batter)
25g tapioca flour (use to coat before battering)
25g rice flour (use to coat before battering)
4 half circles eggplant, skin on, 2cm thick

Into a tall measuring jug, pour in the sparkling water and add the xanthan. Blitz with a stick blender until thick ensuring there are no lumps. Add the tapioca and rice flour then blitz with the stick blender until smooth. Mix the coating rice and tapioca flour together in a flat bowl. Coat the eggplant in the flour then into the batter. Fry the eggplant in clean oil at 190°C for 5min. Turn regularly to ensure both sides are crispy. Plate immediately.

TO ASSEMBLE
8 sea scallops, seared
15 rashers streaky bacon, cooked crispy just prior to plating
175g baby spinach or orach, blanched, buttered and seasoned
4 seasonal flowers, to garnish, such as cucumber flower or pea blossom

Chop the freshly cooked bacon into thin strips. Gently warm the XO sauce then mix the crispy bacon into the XO sauce.

TO SERVE
Place 1dsp of spinach onto the plate. Top with 1tbsp XO sauce. Place two scallops and a half circle of eggplant onto the XO. Garnish with 1tsp of XO and seasonal flowers.

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