Chefs' Recipes

Scallops with sugna and caper breadcrumbs

From Sydney's now-closed Berta.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking plus cooling, chilling
  • Serves 8
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Scallops with sugna and caper breadcrumbs


  • 24 Hervey Bay scallops, on the half shell
  • To serve: lemon wedges
  • 250 gm pork back fat, diced into 2cm pieces (see note)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
Caper breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 gm sourdough bread, crust removed, coarsely torn
  • ½ tbsp small capers in brine, rinsed
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (firmly packed)
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon


  • 1
    For sugna, combine pork back fat and 100ml water in a saucepan over high heat, cook until fat begins to sizzle (4-6 minutes), then reduce heat to low and cook until fat renders (45 minutes-1 hour). Carefully strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin into a heatproof container, cool to room temperature, refrigerate until firm (1 hour). Dry-roast fennel seeds until fragrant (30 seconds-1 minute). Coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle, then process in a small food processor with pork back fat, chilli and 1 tsp sea salt flakes until shiny and fluffy (1-2 minutes), refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    For caper breadcrumbs, heat oil in a frying pan over low heat, add bread and capers, stir occasionally until golden and toasted (2-3 minutes), cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor, pulse with parsley and lemon rind to combine, then set aside.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 200C. Place scallops on a large oven tray, top each with 1 tbsp sugna (remainder will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week), scatter with caper breadcrumbs, season to taste with freshly ground pepper and roast until just cooked through (2-3 minutes). Serve hot with lemon wedges.


Pork back fat is available from select butchers. You'll need to order it in advance.
This recipe is from the October 2010 issue of