Scottish hand-dived scallops are famous across the world for their delicious, sweet taste and they’re one of my all-time favourite ingredients. The cold, clean waters around Scotland’s coast provide the perfect habitat for them to flourish, and there are few nicer sights for a chef than a fresh delivery of live scallops in their beautiful fan-shaped shells.

Here at Gleneagles, we have very close relationships with our suppliers and I make regular visits to see them harvesting the produce we select for our menus. Once you’ve seen scallop divers at work, you understand the huge effort and dangerous conditions they face each day to bring you the delicious scallops onto your plate – so it’s an ingredient that commands my respect.

When I was a junior chef, I saw scallops being made by Rick Stein on the TV and convinced my Head Chef to show me how to prepare them and give me my first taste. I was immediately hooked and fascinated by their journey – from the diver through to the finished plate – and talked the boss into adding them to our fine dining menu.

When you’re cooking scallops, the trick is to keep it straightforward and not mess around with them too much or add too many flavours – to make sure your dish really heroes the scallops. Taking them out of the shell is easy, but if you’re daunted by the prospect, your fishmonger will be happy to do this for you.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare most of it in advance. Roasting and pureeing the celeriac, which tastes at its best at this time of year, gives it a really rich, deep autumnal flavour, but I also love how light and fresh this dish is. The tartness of the apple cuts through the sweetness of the scallops and the richness of the celeriac, while the earthy, musky truffle flavour brings all the ingredients together.

White truffle is currently in season and, if you’re feeling extravagant, adding some freshly sliced white truffle on top of this dish would make a beautiful addition. You can’t buy it in the supermarkets, but you can buy it from specialist suppliers or online.

This dish makes a lovely simple starter, light lunch or supper and goes perfectly with a nice glass of crisp white Burgundy. We are currently serving it in our Birnam Brasserie, where our menu showcases classic French brasserie and bistro-style cuisine using fresh Scottish produce.

Scallops are a very versatile ingredient for different styles of cuisine; we’re also currently serving them in The Strathearn, our fine dining restaurant, with cauliflower, Exmoor caviar and a port reduction, as well as in our casual clubhouse restaurant, The Dormy, where they’re featured in a tasty seafood risotto, along with mussels, prawns and gremolata.

Hand-dived scallops, celeriac, apple and truffle

Serves 6


18 medium hand-dived scallops

2 celeriac

3 granny smith apples

1 litre apple juice

150g butter

500g milk

Rapeseed oil

Truffle paste or puree


To serve:

Fresh truffle (if you would like to be really extravagant it is currently the white truffle season)

Pea shoots


1. First make the celeriac puree. Wrap one celeriac in tin foil and bake in the oven for 4 hours at 180°C degrees. Once cool, peel and dice the roasted celeriac.

2. Peel and dice the other celeriac. Add the butter to a hot pan and roast off the raw celeriac in the foaming butter until golden brown. Add the diced cooked celeriac to the pan. Cover with milk and cook until soft and then blend in an electric food processor with the liquid to a puree consistency.

3. Next, make the apple reduction. Reduce the apple juice by three quarters until it becomes a syrup and then add a touch of rapeseed oil to create a split dressing.

4. Next, cook the scallops. Heat a pan and add a little rapeseed oil. Season the scallops and then add them to the pan. Dependent on size, they should take approximately 70 seconds each side, so that they are golden and just cooked in the middle.

5. To serve, gently warm up the celeriac puree and add the truffle paste, mixing until it is completely combined. Add the puree to the plate and top with the scallops. Slice the fresh apple and use it to garnish the plate and then add pea shoots. Finally, dress the dish with the apple reduction and fresh truffle shavings and enjoy.