Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Barry Bryson’s Christmas Cracker: Try this innovative starter of pan-fried scallops with roasted chestnuts, bacon and pear

Every day this week we’ll be bringing you a special Christmas recipe from Scottish chefs, beginning with Barry and his seasonal starter.

With Christmas celebrations destined to be on a smaller scale this year, it does give us the chance to flex our culinary muscles and try something new.

Chef Barry Bryson, from Fife, is known for his creative cooking skills and love of working with local produce which he puts to good use when offering his services through his business, Cater Edinburgh.

And this year he’s challenging us to rise to the occasion with a Christmas starter that uses some of Scotland’s finest natural produce in the form of fresh scallops, alongside the more traditional chestnuts and bacon that we’re used to tucking into at this time of year.

So if you’re looking to create a special treat for your Christmas ‘bubble’, this recipe could just be the one for you…

Pan-fried scallops, roasted chestnut and mushroom puree, with crispy bacon and pear

(Serves 2)


  • 6 large scallops, roe off (ask your fishmonger for freshly shucked hand-dived scallops ideally)
  • 300g closed cup mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • Small bag of fresh chestnuts (around 20 or so)
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 175ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt flakes for seasoning
  • 100g butter
  • 75ml double cream
  • Handful of fresh green herbs, chopped (I used parsley and tarragon)
  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 pears
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 25ml honey
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 1 lemon


First of all start with the puree. This can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the fridge.

  1. Use a sharp knife and score a single criss-cross through the chestnuts shell (but not deep into the nut)
  2. Lay them flat on a baking tray, pre-heat the oven to 185°C and bake then for 25 to 30 minutes. Take them out, cover them with a clean towel to create a steamy space for them to cool in, then when warm but not hot, peel the shell off them and discard the skin under the shell as you go.
  3.  Next add half the butter to a non-stick pan and soften the garlic in it as it melts, then add the mushrooms and cook them over a fairly high heat until the water comes off them then season them and reduce. Now add your stock and the shelled chestnuts to the pan, add your chopped herbs and salt and simmer for a few minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender/food processor and add the cream and blitz this mix up until nice and smooth. If it’s a little thick add a slash of cold water.
  4. Finally, using a sieve pass this mix through it using a spatula or wooden spoon to push the puree through the mesh (this will make your puree extra light and remove the grainy aspect).

Next make the pear. Again you can make this part a couple of days ahead if you wish.

  1. Peel and core the pears, add to a pan of cold water, add the sugar, add the star anise and clove, cut the lemon in two and add both to water, cover the top with a bit of greaseproof paper and simmer the pears gently for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the water. When they are cool enough to handle take out the lemon and the anise and cloves and then, in a food processor, blitz the pears with the honey until lovely and smooth and store until use.

Next the bacon.

  1. In a pan, fry off the bacon lardons until very crispy, remove from pan and use a sharp knife and chop them down into really small crispy bacon crumbs.

To finish.

  1. When you are ready to assemble and enjoy the dish, heat the puree gently in a small saucepan or microwave until piping hot, refresh the bacon crumbs by a quick saute.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan with a little olive oil, then add your scallops and season lightly. Cook on one side for around 60 seconds until nice and golden. Turn only once onto the other side and again cook for around 45 seconds to one minute.
  3. Drop the other 50g butter into the pan and baste the scallops as it melts and foams. Then lift out and rest them for a few seconds.
  4. Assemble the dish now by spooning the hot puree onto the plate and add your nice golden scallop into the centre of each spoonful.
  5. Then finally spoon on the bacon and dot the pear in with that for a nice contrast to each other.

Merry Christmas, stay safe!


Don’t miss…