Seared scallops & asparagus with white beans


  • 120g dried white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ small brown onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 8 large asparagus spears
  • 12 scallops
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 16 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Few handfuls watercress sprigs
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • Freshly ground white pepper


Drain the soaked beans and place in a saucepan with enough fresh water to cover well. Add garlic clove, onion and bay leaf. Remove the leaves from the sprigs of thyme. Add the stalks to the beans and reserve the leaves.

Bring beans to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until soft but still holding their shape, about an hour. Drain and remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. If using tinned beans, drain and rinse well under cold water.

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut into long pieces on the diagonal. Chop the thyme leaves.

Season scallops with salt. Place a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat. and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Sear scallops in the hot pan for about a minute on each side, until golden. Remove from the pan and rest on a warm plate.

Reduce heat slightly and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in asparagus, cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Fry for a minute, then add thyme leaves. Continue to fry until asparagus and tomatoes start to colour, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat, add beans and a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove from heat, fold through parsley.

Share watercress across four serving plates, then spoon on the bean mix and finish with the scallops.

Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, add a good grind of pepper, serve.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
A vibrant sparkler works beautifully with the sweetness and texture of these scallops. Tasmania's House of Arras Brut Elite Chardonnay Pinot Noir has a lovely toasty element, which plays off the dish's more savoury, earthy flavours.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.