Chef Apreda - Breaded Sea Scallops with Mozzarella, Celery Leaves, and Black Truffle

As I've mentioned a few times, we visited Imago at the Hotel Hassler in Rome back in August. It is 1 Michelin star greatness (and we think it deserves more) and it's star chef, Francesco Apreda was very gracious to share two of his recipes with us and Gourmet Male readers. I'm giving this a go on the long weekend as it's complex but accessible. Let us know what you think! And make it a point to visit Imago if you're ever in Rome - and follow @FrancescoApreda on Twitter.

Thanks, Chef. 

Capesante impanate e ripiene di mozzarella di bufala, foglie di sedano e tartufo (small).jpg


Breaded scallops filled with buffalo milk mozzarella, celery leaves, and black truffle 


  • 400gr shelled scallops,
  • 60gr buffalo milk mozzarella,
  • 80gr black truffle,
  • 200gr breadcrumbs,
  • 200gr celery,
  • 3 whole eggs,
  • 100gr flour


  • 500ml cream,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 4gr isinglass,
  • extra virgin olive oil


  • 100gr fine frizzy salad,
  • 5ml truffle flavoured oil,
  • 30gr poppy seeds,
  • salt,
  • pepper,
  • extra virgin olive oil,
  • peanut oil

BREADED SCALLOPS: carve into the side of the scallops creating a sack. Stuff with a slice of mozzarella, a fine slice of truffle and a leaf of celery. Dredge in flour, in the beaten eggs, salted and then coated with the breadcrumbs made with fresh white sandwich loaf and dry homemade bread.

GARLIC SAUCE: squash the garlic cloves, cover them in oil and roast in the oven at 80 °C for an hour. Reduce the cream and, while still warm, blend with the garlic confit and the softened isinglass.

FRIZZY SALAD WITH TRUFFLE: use only the middle, lighter leaves and rinse in very cold water. Drain and dress with the finely chopped remaining truffle, truffle fl avoured oil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

CELERY STICKS: peel the celery ribs and cut into 5cm sticks, blanche in salted water and cool in water and ice. Before serving, heat in a pan with oil, salt and pepper.

FINISHING TOUCHES: fry the scallops in peanut oil at 180 °C, blot in kitchen paper, salt and serve on top of the garlic sauce covered with poppy seeds, the dressed frizzy salad, celery sticks, a few fine slices of truffle and fried baby celery leaves.


Italian Scallops

For some reason I have been obsessed with scallops lately. They are so easy to cook and there are many flavour combinations that you can use to make amazing dishes. I'm pretty happy with this recipe as I made it on the fly and it's another step in my journey in creating flavour pairings from scratch.

scallops tomato.jpg

The key to this dish is to cook the scallops in duck fat. You can find duck fat at your speciality grocer - in Australia Thomas Dux carries it in the meat section. This will serve two people. You need:

  • 6 fresh scallops
  • 1 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 vine ripened tomato, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • handful basil, thinly sliced

Heat a sauce pan on high and add the duck fat. Ensure the pan is searing hot and then add the scallops. Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side and then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the tomato, garlic, and chicken stock and reduce - about 10 minutes.

Add the scallops back to the pan with the basil and cook for another minute. Serve the scallops with a dollop of the tomato and basil sauce. Enjoy!

Lunch at Max's - Scallops, Roast, Potatoes

My work colleague and friend Max and his wife have recently moved into a new place and we popped over for lunch recently. To start, how about the view??


I know that Max loves his food but I didn't realise how much of kindred spirits we really are. Firstly, his cooking library is extensive and he has many of the titles that I have in mine. But his cooking is fantastic and while we thought we were coming over for a casual lunch he started cooking at 6am!

We started with our homemade wholemeal bread and Tetsuya's truffle butter (those recipes to come soon). That was a good start as the entree was pan seared scallops topped with crispy pancetta, on a bed of creamed corn with truffle oil. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the crispiness of the pancetta really offset the creamed corn.


The main course was long roasted beef on a bed of vegetables and bay leaves. It had cooked slow and long enough that the bones literally pulled out of the finished roast. The meat just pulled apart with a fork and was very juicy. I'll have to ask for the details of how it remained so juicy after so much time.


On the side we had some roasted potatoes and a salad. The salad was rocket and baby spinach, roasted pine nuts, lychees (lychees!!), parmesan, and jamon. It was dressed with a lychee vinaigrette. I was so into my meal by this point that I forgot to grab a photo. It was fantastic and the colours and contrasts certainly were unique.


To finish we had my baked blueberry cheesecakes. That recipe will come soon as well.

We had a great afternoon with amazing food and good friends. It was a hell of a lot of work for Max and his wife but it just goes to show that it's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.