This recipe has influences from all over the place. It uses pancetta (Italian), Korean zucchini, yuzu kosho (a delicious Japanese condiment made from chillies and Japanese citrus), and butter to cook the zucchini and sear the scallops.
Korean zucchini (also called Korean squash) has glossy, pale-green skin and a smoother, more delicate texture than Italian zucchini. It's often sold in shrink-wrapped plastic. It's also grown in China. If you can't find the Korean (or Chinese) zucchini, use Italian yellow zucchini. If the only squash available is Italian green zucchini, peel it before using it.
If you don't have a spiraliser, the easiest way to cut the zucchini into spaghetti-like strands is with an inexpensive, hand-held julienne peeler - it looks like a vegetable peeler, but instead of a smooth cutting blade, the blade has sharp teeth. Alternatively, try these methods.
Yuzu kosho is sold in small jars or tubes. It's very strong and spicy, and a little goes a long way.
If possible, buy fresh (shell-on) scallops on the day you plan to cook them.The seafood vendor can clean them for you, but I have them leave the roe/coral intact (although it can be removed, if you prefer).
Cut the zucchini into long, thin strands; use only the exterior and fleshy part of the zucchini, not the seedy core. (The core can be used in vegetable soups.)
Put the julienned zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with about 15g (1 tbsp) of fine sea salt, then mix well and leave for about 15 minutes. Put the zucchini in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cool running water, turning over the vegetable as necessary. Taste a few strands: the zucchini should not be salty. Drain the zucchini, then take handfuls of it and squeeze to remove the excess water. Put the zucchini in a bowl.
Cut the mint leaves into chiffonade: stack several leaves and roll them tightly into a small cigar. Use a sharp knife to cut the mint into fine shreds, then unroll the leaves. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
Cut the pancetta into small strips about 5mm (¼ in) thick, then put them in a lightly oiled skillet and set it over a medium flame. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set it aside.
Put the butter in the pan (no need to wash it) and place over a medium-low flame. When the butter melts, add the julienned zucchini and a light sprinkling of salt. Cook briefly until the zucchini is hot and tender. Turn off the flame, then mix in the yuzu kosho. Taste a few strands of the zucchini, and add more salt and yuzu kosho, if necessary.
Blot the scallops with paper towels. Heat two clean skillets over a high flame, then coat them thoroughly with oil. When the oil is very hot, season the scallops lightly on both sides with fine salt, then immediately put them into the skillets, dividing them evenly between the pans. Sear the scallops over a high flame for one to two minutes, or until they’re medium brown, then turn them over to sear the other side. Adjust the heat if they’re browning too quickly.
After turning them over, let the scallops cook for about 30 seconds, then add 20 grams of butter into each skillet. Swirl the pan so the scallops are evenly covered with butter. When the scallops are cooked to your liking, take them from the pan and blot them on paper towels.
Place the skillet with the zucchini spaghetti over a high flame and mix in the pancetta and some black pepper. When the zucchini is hot, turn off the flame and mix in the mint-leaves chiffonade.
Divide the zucchini between four plates and top with the scallops. Sprinkle with black pepper and a little rough-flaked sea salt, then garnish with mint leaves or sprigs. Serve immediately.