True shallots (echalotes) are gradually becoming more widely available. They look rather like a large, loose head of garlic with glossy red-brown skin.
Clean and peel 12 large Jerusalem artichokes. Put a little olive oil in a roasting pan, add the artichokes and roast in a medium oven until golden, a little caramelized and cooked through - about 20 minutes. Peel and slice 12 cloves of true shallots. Brush 28 scallops lightly with oil on both sides. Have ready 4 kaffir lime leaves (or substitute zest from the limes). Wash 8 wing beans (or substitute 4 very small bok choys about 10 cms tall - halve them lengthwise) and blanch in boiling water.
Put the blanched vegetables in 4 large bowls (pasta bowls or similar), together with the whole roasted artichokes, and scatter the sliced shallots over the top. Meanwhile, in a saucepan com- bine 600 mL fish stock, the juice of 3 limes, Thai fish sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons) and pepper to taste and bring to the boil.
Heat an iron grill or heavy frying pan to a very high heat. Do not grease. Throw in the oiled scallops and sear them very quickly on both sides, so that they take colour on the outside but are barely warm inside. Divide the scallops between the soup bowls, top with the lime leaves and pour in the broth. Serve.
From an article by Meryl Constance in The Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/93. Courtesy Mark Herron.