“One should eat to live, not live to eat” Moliere. Au contraire Moliere, au contraire.
I can honestly say I truly believe Moliere would never have said this if he had tasted this dish. Bold claim, but frankly scallop, I don’t give a clam!
I think you’ll back me up once you’ve made it and devoured the lot. It’s a (self-proclaimed) delicious dish and is simple enough to whip up for yourself (because you’re worth it), but is also snazzy enough to serve at a dinner party. And dinner parties are all about the snazz. (That might not be a real word, but it should be)
Cauliflower puree is one of my most favourite things to eat and once you’ve tried it, I know you’ll think it a worthy competitor to trusty mashed potato. I would like to see a cauliflower and a potato battle it out in a boxing ring. Not that either of them would be very good at boxing. That would be silly. They don’t have arms.
Anyway, (clears throat), I would choose my cauliflower puree over mashed spuds any day
I definitely count this as a healthy dish and it’s deceptively simple to make.
You need 2 scallops per person for a starter or 4 per person for a main course
I’m going to give the recipe for the starter option, but this is a very easy recipe to double up on and exact measures are not necessary so give it a go!
- 8 scallops
- 225g chorizo ring, sliced into 8 slices
- 1 large cauliflower
- About 150g butter
- Handful chopped parsley
- Generous slug of cream, NOT a slug who likes giving presents
- Salt and pepper
- Pint of milk (optional)
- 1 lemon, half cut into wedges, the other half left as it is
- First things first, start by making the cauliflower puree - chop your cauliflower into chunks, if you are a thuggins like me. Or you can be more refined and carefully break your cauliflower into delicate florets.
- Either way you get there, pop your cauliflower into a pan
- I like to cook the cauliflower in milk as I think it makes for a smoother, creamier puree. Imagine how happy you would be after a bath in warm milk, and our aim is to make the cauliflower as happy as possible. But if you just use water it will still be delicious….just not as delicious as mine. But definitely still delicious.
- Bring the milk/water to the boil and then simmer for about 25 mins or until the cauliflower is really tender.
- Test this by piercing the thickest stalkiest bit of cauliflower with a knife and it should go easily through. To get a smooth puree, you do need the cauliflower to be really soft
- Then strain the cauliflower and most likely get a steamy facial at the same time. Two birds, one stone
- Now, this next stage is optional, but I really think it makes all the difference, and in the grand scheme of things is very little faff.
- Melt a knob of butter in the cauliflower pan and once its melted throw in your drained cauliflower
- You want to cook it for about 5 minutes on a medium-high heat, stirring every minute or so. You don’t want the cauliflower to burn (obviously) but it’s okay if it gets a little bit coloured. By the end it should be really smooshy and buttery. Yum
- Now either tip the cauliflower into a food processor, or use a handheld stick blender to puree the cauliflower. Throw in a generous lump of butter and a generous slug of cream, season with salt and pepper and whizz until smooth and creamy.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Try not to eat the whole lot now.
- This can be made a couple of days in advance and kept covered in the fridge to make this dish even easier. To serve, either pop it in a microwaveable bowl and blitz for about 2 mins until piping hot, or tip it into a baking dish and warm through in the oven at about 170 C for about 25 mins (make sure it is gently warming, not bubbling too much)
- Right, now, when your guests are chatting amongst themselves, you just need to disappear to the kitchen for 5 minutes
- Take a large frying pan, preferably non-stick if you have one
- Put it on a high heat, but don’t add any oil
- When the pan is hot, add your sliced chorizo and fry for a minute or so until it is lightly golden and ever so slightly crispy
- Tip onto a plate and cover with some tin foil to keep it warm. A little tin foil blanket if you will.
- Now, don’t worry about cleaning the pan, just throw in a little knob of butter and a glug of olive oil and heat until the pan is smoking ever so slightly
- Whilst the pan is heating up, season your scallops with salt and then carefully place them into the hot pan. They should sizzle sexily when you add them, if they don’t sizzle they aren’t sexy enough, the pan is not quite hot enough so just hang on a bit and then try again
- Now cook for about 1 minute and 30 seconds – don’t be tempted to move them around, you want them to get a lovely crust on one side, so look at your watch or count to ninety
- Now carefully flip the scallops over and cook for about another minute
- Don’t overcook them – scallops are better undercooked than overcooked, when you press on them they should still be bouncy, if they are firm then they are over cooked. If you are unsure, you can always take one out and slice into it, it should be translucent in the middle (no shame in doing this, and you can always serve this one to yourself). Obviously scallops vary in size, so this is only a guide, but if you buy lovely fresh largish scallops from the fishmonger, this recipe will stand you in good stead.
- Now, squeeze half the lemon onto the scallops and remove the scallops from the pan and add to the chorizo plate
- Turn the heat off and sprinkle the parsley in the pan
- Spoon on about 2 tablespoons of cauliflower puree onto each plate
- Place 2 scallops and 2 slices of chorizo onto the puree
- Spoon over the buttery, parsley sauce from the pan onto the scallops
- Garnish with a lemon wedge and sprinkle with pea shoots (I KNOW I’m obsessed with pea shoots…I need help)
Restaurant worthy dish in no time at all!