Want to know how a Michelin-star chef prepares for the festive season? Chef Alyn Williams of The Westbury hotel restaurant in Mayfair shares his expert advice with ACHICA Living, and lets us in on one of his favourite dishes for Tandoori Spiced Scallops. Follow the recipe below…
Alyn Williams’ Top Tips for Entertaining
1. Plan your menu a few days in advance and prep what you can.
2. Use good quality produce so you don’t have to cook something overly complicated to make it taste good. By keeping it simple you’ll also avoid last minute panic. I like to slow cook meat a day in advance so I can relax and enjoy the company of my guests.
3. Cook something you’re familiar and comfortable with rather than trying something unusual that could create unnecessary stress.
4. Create sharing food so everyone can help themselves and dig in. It’s informal and it keeps everyone relaxed.
5. If following a recipe, read it in advance to ensure you understand the instructions.
6. Have plenty of drinks to hand so everyone can help themselves.
7. Simple tricks of the trade can make a big difference: use a sharp knife to create more detail and precision in your work and place a wet towel under your chopping board to stop the board from moving.
8. Taste and season your food throughout cooking. Ensure you season your meat and fish evenly. If you’re cooking a piece of meat or fish, season it last minute to avoid it drying out.
9. Use equipment like mandolins and coarse microplanes to shave vegetables. Add them along with lots of herbs to create big, bold salads.
10. Keep the evening fun by selecting a memorable playlist to set the tone.
[Image below] Michelin-star style; Alyn Williams at The Westbury in Mayfair restaurant, which will be open on Christmas Day.
Alyn Williams Tandoori Spiced Scallops Recipe
For the tandoori spice:
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
11/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
For the main dish:
8 shucked diver caught scallops (cleaned of the coral and muscle)
200g strained natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons Tandoori spices
4 large mint leaves (finely chopped)
1/4 cucumber (peeled and diced into 2cm cubes)
20g drained tinned chickpeas (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon light olive oil
Squeeze lemon juice
1g ground coriander seeds
20 sprigs coriander cress
1 tablespoon chopped fenugreek
1. Combine all of the dry spices, blitz to a powder in a liquidiser to create a spice mix.
2. Stir a tablespoon of the spice mix into 200g of yoghurt.
3. Season the scallops liberally with the spice mix, heat a pan with a little olive oil then cook the scallops for 2 minutes on each side until nicely coloured. Remove from the pan and cut in half.
4. Mix the chopped chickpeas and diced cucumber together, dress with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.
To finish and serve
5. Using a spoon, make swirls of the Tandoori yoghurt on a plate, sprinkle a layer of the chickpeas and cucumber.
6. Arrange the scallops, along with the chickpea crisps.
7. Arrange a few more coriander sprigs and finish by sprinkling some chopped fenugreek around the plate.
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor