Grilled scallop and snails on Thai-curried butternut squash puree with sweet potato crisps

Serves 3

Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour

400g/14oz butternut squash
500ml/17fl oz peanut oil
1 smallish orange fleshed sweet potato
2 red peppers, quartered, seeds and stem removed
3 red chillies, halved lengthways, stem removed
6 cloves garlic, sliced fine
200g/7oz ginger, peeled and finely sliced
100g/ 3½oz galangal, peeled and finely sliced
5 lime leaves
2 lemon grass stems, outer two layers removed, then finely slice the bottom 6cm
50g/2oz grated pale palm sugar
6 large diver caught scallops, out of the shell, cleaned
50g/2oz butter
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
18 snails, prepped, in brine
150ml/5fl oz roast chicken jus
the juice of one lime
a handful of chopped parsley
a handful of mizuna leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the squash on a baking tray and roast until cooked and the skin has darkened, about 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato, then using a vegetable peeler, peel thin strips of potato until you have a pile of ribbons.
3. Heat the peanut oil up in a wok to 170C/325F. Cook the ribbons in small batches until crisp and golden, then drain well on kitchen paper, salt lightly.
4. Turn the oil up to 180C/350F and add the 8 pepper quarters and fry until darkened and softened, remove and drain. Cook the chillies the same way, drain.
5. Cook the garlic, then the ginger and galangal all in the same way, cooking only one ingredient at a time, until you have a pile of fried tasty bits.
6. Place them all in a food processor and whizz to a fine paste with the lime leaves and lemongrass. Don t clean the processor, but remove the paste to a clean jar (it will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks).
7. Once the squash is cooked remove it from the oven and cut in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds then scoop the flesh from the skin and place in the food processor. Add the palm sugar, a tsp of salt and half the paste, blitz to a fine purée and taste for seasoning – add more curry paste if desired.
8. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil onto a cold plate, and once cooled lay the scallops on top, then turn over to coat with the oil. Heat a skillet up and when smoking, place the scallops on and cook for 60 seconds each side to get them just beyond rare. Leave to rest in a warm place for a few minutes.
9. Heat up a small pan and add the butter, cook to a brown butter stage then add the garlic and swirl for 5 seconds, add the drained snails and toss for 5 seconds more, then add the jus and lime juice and cook to a syrupy glaze, finish with the parsley and a pinch of salt.

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