Dish Deconstructed

How to make: John Calton of the Staith House's seared scallops

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Scallops: try pairing the dish with Provençale rosé
Scallops: try pairing the dish with Provençale rosé
The Staith House, in North Shields, Tyne & Wear, has garnered serious acclaim for chef-patron John Calton’s accomplished cooking.

This dish uses succulent Isle of Man scallops, and bacon that Calton himself smokes on the pub’s roof. Pair it with a chilled glass of dry Provençale rosé.


(serves 2)

  • 8 hand-dived extra large king scallops in the shell
  • Icy water 
  • 1kg boneless pork belly 
  • 250g black treacle 
  • 300g Maldon sea salt 
  • 100g peeled hazelnuts 
  • Sherry vinegar 
  • Pomace oil 
  • Hazelnut oil 
  • Banana shallot, finely diced 
  • Garlic, finely diced 
  • A knob of butter 
  • A twist of freshly milled pepper 
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped 
  • 1 clove of finely diced garlic 
  • Lemon juice


  • Remove the scallops from the shell, then remove the attached muscle and coral. Dip into iced water to firm them up and remove any grit before draining them and patting them dry.
  • Refrigerate them to set their shapes.
  • Rub the treacle all over the pork belly, place in a plastic tray, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for three days.
  • Take the meat out tray, rub the Maldon salt all over it, place it back in the fridge for two days. During this time, keep rolling the pork around in the treacle.
  • Rinse off excess salt under a cold running tap, pat dry then cold smoke in a Bradley smoker for four hours and refrigerate overnight. Then cut into lardons for use.
  • Pan roast the hazelnuts in hazelnut oil until golden brown and releasing a toasty aroma. Now crush with a pestle and mortar until coarse.
  • Add the banana shallot, garlic, pinch of Maldon sea salt and a twist of pepper, check the seasoning and set aside.
  • Pan sear the scallops on the flat side first in a medium to hot pan with just a thin film of pomace oil to coat the base.
  • Control the heat of the pan and you should see the scallop gradually change colour as the heat rises through the flesh.
  • In a separate pan, begin to caramelise the lardons with a small drizzle of pomace oil. The fat should begin to render from them. Swirl the bacon in its own fat and juices.
  • Now deglaze with a small splash of sherry vinegar then add the garlic and allow it to soften before adding chopped watercress stalks and spring onions.
  • Whisk up the hazelnut dressing and spoon into the bacon pan.
  • Add a generous knob of butter to the scallops, allow to foam, then flip the scallops over. Now add a squirt of lemon juice and allow the butter to turn nut brown (beurre noisette).
  • Remove the scallops from the pan season with salt and get ready to plate up.
  • Place the bacon and hazelnut salsa in the centre of a plate. Position the scallops on top.

A word from the chef

“At this time of year, we are very lucky to get some fantastic king scallops from the Isle of Man and the quality is just superb,” says Calton. “This dish is a beautiful, tried-and-tested combination of flavours – smoky bacon; peppery watercress; earthy, roast hazelnuts; and sweet scallop flesh. We smoke our bacon in a Bradley smoker on the Staith House roof, the watercress is foraged in Northumberland by our mushroom man and the crunch of roasted hazelnuts adds great richness and texture.”

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