Easy Seared Scallops with Flavorful Cauliflower Puree

 

Do not fear scallops in your kitchen!  They are one of the easiest things you will ever cook.  I avoided trying to cook scallops for years until I had a dish similar to this one in San Francisco a long time ago.  It was at a fancy, expensive restaurant, but it was so delicious I decided it was worth a shot at trying to make it at home.  Little did I know that scallops are the fastest and easiest animal protein to prepare in the world.  You cannot heat up a frozen meal faster.  And why would you want to?  After you try this dish, you will be amazed at your own culinary skills and will probably never drop any cash on a scallop dish in a restaurant again.

I put the scallops on a bed of pureed cauliflower that I dressed up with flavorful garnishes.  I love using cauliflower puree when I can.  It can be used instead of mashed potatoes as a healthy, veggie side dish that is less starchy than potatoes.  Cauliflower is so versatile, and it is nutritionally superior to many starches. I like pulsing it in a food processor and making cauliflower rice, or taking it step further and making cauliflower pizza crust.  Many of my Paleo clients prefer it to other starchy substitutes, and I always welcome a way to use it in a meal.  I dress it up so decandently; I bet you will forget you are eating healthy. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 large scallops
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk.  I believe the fancy restaurant used cream.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted almond slivers
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons capers

Directions:

Step One:
Prepare the Cauliflower Puree. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.   Place cauliflower florets in the water and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Once florets are soft (you can stab them with a fork), strain cauliflower and place florets in a blender with milk, salt and pepper (or you can use a hand mixer).  Blend just until pureed.  Be sure not to over process the cauliflower.  Put a scoop of puree on a plate and set it aside.

Step Two:
Sear the Scallops. Heat olive oil in a small skillet or sauce pan to medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke a bit.  Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.  Make sure the pan and oil are hot before you add the scallops.  Making sure the pan is hot and the scallops are dry are the key to a perfect sear on the scallops, and it gives them a carmelized flavor.  Add the scallops in a single layer to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes; then, turn them over (I use tongs) and cook them for another 1 to 2 minutes.  Afterward, take them up immediately and place them on the bed of cauliflower.  Do not cook them longer!  They will get rubbery.  That is it.  In less than 4 minutes, you are done cooking the scallops!  

Step Three:
Putting it all together.  In the empty sauce pan, turn down heat to medium-low and add the almonds, raisins, and capers (add a teaspoon of olive oil if the pan is dry).  Sautee together for a minute.  Spoon mixture over scallops.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with parsley. 

This recipe is for one for a lunch sized portion, small dinner, or an appetizer.  Add more scallops and get a large head of cauliflower for more portions, but be sure to not crowd the scallops in the pan when you cook them.  Only cook 5 scallops at a time unless your pan is quite large. 

Did you give scallops a try at home?  Let us see how they turned out! Post it on our Instagram.