How to make a sumptuous scallops dish that uses turnip as its secret weapon

Our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson shares her recipe for seared scallops with creamy turnip purée and salsa verde.

The turnip is surely the vegetable most-used with the adjective ‘humble’ — yet it can play a role in lifting any number of dishes.

‘Turnips are mildly spicy when raw, but become sweet, nutty and velvety when cooked,’ says Melanie Johnson, who shares her recipe for seared scallops with turnip purée below.

As well as part of a main dish, they can also make a wonderful accompaniment. Cubed, steamed turnips can be fried with butter, a dollop of honey and a sprig of rosemary until caramelised, making a glorious nibble, particularly when teamed with macadamia nuts. The combination goes well with pan-fried chicken.

Recipe: Seared scallops with creamy turnip purée and salsa verde


Serves 4

  • 500g turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 20g butter
  • 75ml double cream
  • 2 handfuls fresh parsley
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2tbspn capers
  • 2 salted anchovy fillets
  • 1tbspn Dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon, juice of
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 12 scallops

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Add the peeled and chopped turnips to a pan of salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender. Drain and add to a blender with the butter and cream. Season well and process until smooth.

Make the salsa verde by simply blending together the parsley, basil, garlic, capers, anchovies, mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Process so that it keeps some texture, but is well combined. Store in a jar and keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Pat the scallops dry with kitchen roll and season on both sides. Heat oil and butter in a pan until foaming and then add the scallops, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook for two minutes on each side.

Spoon the turnip purée onto plates and add three scallops per person. Drizzle over the salsa verde and serve for a quick, but elegant supper.