Monday, October 13, 2008

Scallops with Bacon and Cauliflower Purée


Last week I bought a cauliflower at Booths. I was making a vegetable pulau and it was intended for that. But only half of it. Come the end of the week the other half was still in the fridge and I didn't want to waste it. Though not expensive it still seems wrong to throw it away so I wanted to incorporate it into the weekend menu somewhere. Initially I thought of cauliflower cheese with Sunday roast but then I had a hankering for something a little more exotic, fritters possibly. Spiced.

Then I couldn't think what to have with spicy cauliflower fritters so that plan went by the board as soon as I thought of scallops. I love them with a passion, their sweet dense flesh is always a joy. The man shares my feelings for these creamy little discs fresh from the sea. The two things are a marriage made in heaven. It could perhaps be thought that spending £9.50 on scallops in order not to waste 50p worth of cauliflower was not a well considered plan but I would argue that it was one of my best plans of the month. It was an amazing dish - the purée, made with stock rather than cream, was a wonderfully delicate thing, matched perfectly by the perfectly cooked scallops. And the topping of finely shredded bacon cooked briefly with garlic and parsley rounded out the salty sweet flavours to make a dish that was simple and extraordinary.

Scallops with creamed cauliflower, bacon and garlic
8 medium-large scallops, removed from the shell and cleaned
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
60g streaky bacon cut into very thin strips
80g butter
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1tbsp chopped parsley

for the cauliflower purée
1 small head of cauliflower or half a medium head
Stock to cover - I used chicken but vegetable would work
A good knob of butter

First make the creamed cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and put them into a saucepan with the butter and just cover with stock. Season with salt and pepper, cover and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally then remove the lid and cook on a high heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Blend until smooth with a stick blender then re-season. Leave on a very low heat.

Meanwhile gently cook the bacon in about 20g of the butter, add the garlic cloves now and cook for 2-3 minutes without colouring.

While the bacon cooks season the scallops on both sides and heat a pan, preferably non stick, with a little oil until almost smoking. Fry the scallops on a high heat for about a minute on each side.

Add the rest of the butter to the bacon/garlic mix and heat until foaming, then add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Put a generous slick of cauliflower onto two plates, top with 4 scallops on each and then spoon the bacon on top.

Magnificent.

This comes from a recipe by Mark Hix published a few years ago in the Independent but accessible with the magic of the internet.

2 comments:

Alexx said...

I just love scallops, but don't cook them that often. I feel inspired to give them a go this week now!

bron said...

Must admit I would eat scallops a lot more often if they didn't have quite such a hefty 'each' price tag. And then when I do buy them I just can't believe how wonderful they are and don't regret the cost at all. Do hope you go with your inspiration!