Sunday, 13 June 2010

Scallops with cauliflower, pea shoots and walnut dressing

Scallops & cauliflower: a match made in heaven?

I've been meaning to try out this combo for a while now, but only got around to it today as an alternative Sunday lunch. This makes a great special occasion meal which looks and feels luxurious but actually involves very little work.

I really liked the sweetness of the scallops against the creamy bitterness of the cauliflower puree. In retrospect I would be more generous with the crushed walnuts to add a bit more texture and crunch, but as a concept the flavours work really well together.

Serves two for lunch (with crusty bread and butter)

12 fat scallops
1 small cauliflower
a handful of pea shoots
15g butter
¾ pint whole milk
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp walnuts, finely chopped
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

For the dressing:

3 tbsp walnut oil
½ tbsp cider vinegar

1) Remove and discard the cauliflower stalk and separate the head into similar sized florets. Place into a small saucepan with the milk and bring to a gentle simmer until just tender.

2) Reserve 8-10 florets on a plate. Lightly season with salt and sieve over the icing sugar.

3) Use a spoon to scoop out the remaining florets into a blender, adding a tablespoon or two of the cooking liquid. Add the butter and blend until really smooth and creamy. Season to taste.

4) To make the dressing, whisk together the cider vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper.

5) Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a pan and fry the reserved cauliflower until golden brown, then place on a dish and cover until needed.

6) Add a teaspoon of oil to the scallops and lightly season. Take a heavy bottomed frying pan and heat until vey hot, then fry the scallops for 1-2 minutes on each side - no longer!

7) Spoon the cauliflower puree onto two plates and place the scallops on top. Add the toasted cauliflower florets and garnish with the pea shoots. Spoon a little dressing onto the pea shoots and sprinkle over the walnuts.

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