The perfect Springtime starter

A delicious starter for Springtime courtesy of Aaron Johnson-Waters, Executive Chef at the Vox.

Pan seared scallops – roasted pumpkin puree – crispy pancetta shards, beach herbs, micro salad

Serves 2 people

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One of my favourite starters I've prepared at the Vox - and one perfect for Spring
Aaron Johnson-Waters


  • 4 large fresh scallops
  • 4 slices of pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Micro herbs for garnish

For the pumpkin puree

  • 400g pumpkin flesh cubed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the herb oil

  • 50g spinach
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

For the beach herb salad

  • 40g sea asparagus


  • Cut the pumpkin into cubes and place on a tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil
  • Cook until tender, for around 30 minutes, then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C, place the pancetta slices on the baking tray and cook for eight minutes until crispy.
  • Blend the spinach and the olive oil together with a food blender till smooth, then pass through a chinois and place into a squeezy bottle ready for later.
  • Blanch the sea herbs in boiling water for 20 seconds, then place on a tray ready to garnish.
  • Prepare the scallops by patting them dry with kitchen paper. Season with the mixed salt and curry powder.
  • Heat a frying pan with sunflower oil, then fry the scallops on each side for one minute, or until they’re cooked through. Add a knob of butter to make them crispy and golden, then remove from the pan and rest for two minutes.
  • Serve the scallops on a warm plate, on a bed of the smooth pumpkin puree. Garnish with the crispy pancetta shards, top with sea herbs and drizzle with herb oil. Finally, finish with the micro herbs and enjoy!