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Scallops with lentils & fennel cream

Scallops with lentils & fennel cream

Diana Henry's recipe is quite fancy, but perfect for New Year’s Day. The fennel cream can be done in advance and heated up just before you sear the scallops. How long it takes to cook scallops depends on their size, so do this when you can focus on them and not have everyone chatting to you.

5 out of 5 stars(2) Rate this recipe
High protein2 of your 5 a day
  • Serves6
  • CourseStarter
  • Prepare15 mins
  • Cook45 mins
  • Total time1 hr

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For the fennel cream

  • 400g fennel
  • 30g butter
  • ¼ onion, roughly chopped
  • 50g waxy potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 125ml fish stock, or water
  • 1 clove/s garlic, finely grated to a purée
  • 100ml double cream

For the lentils

  • tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, very finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove/s garlic, grated to a purée
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 150g dried green or Puy lentils, well rinsed
  • 2 sprig/s lemon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 275ml vegetable stock, or water
  • ¼ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ lemon
  • ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the scallops

  • 18 small scallops or 12 large, depending on size
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ lemon


  1. Start by making the fennel cream. Quarter the fennel, discarding the tough outer leaves and the hard core. Chop the rest of the flesh, including any little fronds. Heat the butter in a saucepan, then add the fennel, onion and potatoes. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, turning the vegetables over in the butter until softened but not coloured.

  2. Add the stock, or water, and garlic. Season (only lightly if using stock), bring to the boil, then cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, until everything is tender. Add the cream and leave to cool. Purée in a blender until smooth. Check the seasoning and return to the saucepan to reheat later.

  3. For the lentils, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot and celery for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is getting soft. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes more, then add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf and stock or water. Season, bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender and holding their shape (20-25 minutes). The liquid should have been absorbed. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and add the parsley. Season, then add a little lemon juice and just enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten the lentils. Put a lid on the pan to keep the lentils warm.

  4. Check the side of each scallop for a little knot of muscle, whiter and harder than the rest of the flesh. Some fishmongers leave it on – you need to remove it with a sharp knife. Dry the scallops with kitchen paper – wet ones don’t brown well. Quickly reheat the fennel purée and cover it with a lid.

  5. Brush the scallops with the oil. Heat a frying pan until hot (you might need 2 pans). Add the scallops and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until golden and caramelised, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 seconds more, or until just cooked in the middle – test this with the tip of a sharp knife. Season with salt as you go.

  6. Spoon some of the purée onto 6 warmed plates, add a spoonful of lentils and put the scallops on top. Squeeze on some lemon juice and serve immediately.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


1,648kJ/ 395kcals



Saturated Fat












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