This noble shellfish is delicate and sweet, and simply needs sealing briefly in butter and olive oil before serving. Try to find scallops in the shell, but if you can’t, you can use prepared or frozen scallops. The apple lends a fresh crispness to the dish and offers a wonderful contrast to the softness of the scallops and the cauliflower puree. Enjoy with a glass of Condrieu or Viognier.
– PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes.
– COOKING TIME 45 minutes.
– 1 cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into large florets 7 tablespoons unsalted butter.
– 2 tablespoons olive oil.
– 12 scallops, rinsed.
– ¼-inch slice crisp green eating apple, unpeeled, cut into thin strips.
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– FOR THE HAZELNUT DRESSING 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil.
– 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil.
– 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar.
– ½ teaspoon finely chopped celery leaves.
Step 2: Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter and half the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the cooked cauliflower and fry about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is very soft (actually overcooked) and golden brown. Keep the heat medium-low and take care not to burn the butter or the cauliflower.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make the hazelnut dressing. Whisk together the hazelnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar in a bowl until just emulsified. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the small cauliflower florets and boil 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then pat dry and add to the dressing.
Step 4: Put the cooked cauliflower in a blender with 2 tablespoons hot water and blitz to a fine, smooth puree. Add a little extra hot water if the puree is coarse or very thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pass the puree through a fine strainer, using a ladle to help you, into a small, clean saucepan. Cover the pan with a lid and keep warm.
Step 5: Remove the roes from the scallops, trim off any tough flesh and remove any veins, then season with salt and pepper. Melt half the remaining butter with the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is a hazelnut color, add half the scallops and cook 1½ to 2 minutes, depending on their size, until light golden. Turn the scallops over and cook 1 minute longer,then remove them from the pan, put on paper towels and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and butter to cook the remaining scallops.
Step 6: Add the celery leaves to the dressing. Top the cauliflower puree with the the scallops, then drizzle with the dressing. Scatter the florets over the top and finish with the apple strips to serve.