March 1st, 2011

Pan-Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Horseradish and Apple

Scallops are one of my favorite foods and are bang on in season right now. Scallops are sweet and meaty; delicious! They are not only a delight to eat but a delight to work with… well that is if someone else does all the hard work in cleaning them for you. I have vivid memories of cleaning and opening scallops, then washing my hands using lemon dipped in salt, scrubbing for ages and then it still smells intensely after all the washing and scrubbing. The smell lingers on your hands for a long time.

The combination of cauliflower, scallops and apple is not new; no it’s done and dusted by fellow cooks for many years, but let’s face it, it’s rather good, and my old saying is if it is not broken then do not fix it. Cooking is not about re-inventing the wheel, no, for me it’s about doing a job well and doing it right. The execution, presentation and taste is of prime importance.

I love food, and of course eating it is that all important bit I really like. I also get bored of food very quickly, especially if the foods I’m eating combined have one dimensional texture or taste. For me, a plate of food must be exciting not only to look at but also to eat. When designing a dish I’m looking for different textures and tastes; every mouthful must have a little surprise installed; then it’s exciting!

For this scallop dish I serve not only the cauliflower, horseradish and apple puree but also serve apple crisps that add a tangy crispness to the dish.

To season the scallops I dug my old magic curry powder recipe out. The intentions with this salted curry dust is not to give the scallops a curry flavour but to enhance the taste and flavour of the sweet scallops. I use the dust as a seasoning as you would normally season the scallops with salt and pepper. I do not, however, use pepper as I feel the strength of the pepper will overpower it all.

Cauliflower, Apple and Horseradish Puree

  • 2 in number coxes or granny smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 200ml apple juice
  • 1 head of cauliflower, shredded
  • 200ml milk
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 50g freshly grated horseradish

Prepare the apples and cauliflower. Heat a large saucepan, melt the butter, once it starts to foam add the apple, cauliflower and seasoning. Saute until the cauliflower and apple starts to take on a bit of colour, reduce the heat and add the milk. Cover the pan with a lid and gently simmer until the cauliflower and apple is tender, add the freshly grated horseradish and blend until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if need.

Apple Crisps

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 200ml cold water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 100 °C.

Dissolve the sugar in the water and lemon juice, bring it to the boil and simmer for two minute, leave to cool until needed.

Wash the apple and remove the core with a apple corer, slice the apple finely using a mandolin approximately 2mm thick slices. Dip each slice in the cooled suryp and lay it flat on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Dry the apple crisps in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, keep a eye on it so that it does not brn however the crisps must dry and be crisp once cooled.

Cauliflower Beignets

  • 1 cauliflower head divided into 20 pence piece florettes
  • 20g cornflour
  • 75g self-raising flour + 2tbs extra
  • 125ml sparkling water
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 2 free range egg whites
  • Salt
  • Sunflower oil for deep-frying

Mix the flour, cornflour, salt, egg yolk and sparkling water into a smooth paste. Whip the egg whites until fluffy and stop just before the soft peak stage . Fold the egg whites into the beignet batter and leave to settle for five minutes.

Cook the cauliflower in salted boiling water until tender, refresh in ice water and drain well.

Mix the two table spoons of extra flour with a some of the curry salt.

Heat the oil to 160ºC. Once it reaches the correct temperature, toss the cauliflower in the seasoned flour, dust off the excess and then dip each florette in the batter and fry them for about two minutes until golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper and season immediately with salt and serve immediately.

Curry Salt

  • 1tbs mild curry powder
  • 2tbs Maldon sea salt

Mix the ingredients and keep in a air tight container until needed. This salt is handy and makes a lovely seasoning for white fish such as cod, skate, halibut.

To use season the fish or scallops with the curry salt as per normal salt seasoning and cook immediately. Do not leave the fish or scallop to sit with the salt as it will draw out moisture and make the fish dry, rubbery and tasteless.

Pan-Seared Scallops

  • 12 hand dived scallops, prepared
  • Curry Salt
  • 1tbs peanut or sunflower oil

Heat a non-stick frying pan with the oil, season the scallops of both sides with the curry salt, once the pan is hot enough place the scallops presentation side down into the pan for 2minutes, the scallops will caramelise and turn golden, flip it over and continue cooking for a further 1 minute on the reverse side. Drain and plate the dish up immediately.

To Serve

Heat the puree and spoon it onto the plate, arrange the cauliflower beignets and serve three scallops per portion, arrange the apple crisps and garnish lightly with herb cress leaves.

Serve immediately

Serves 4

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4 Comments to “Pan-Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Horseradish and Apple”

  1. Wingz says:

    I tried this recipe yesterday, almost word for word and it was scrumptious! (

    I gave up on the blending after a while though, so I got a dense coarse paste as opposed to your smooth creamy puree… will pick a less complicated recipe to work on next.

    Thank you!

  2. Gorgeous – the meal is inspired. Your photos are really lovely. Am new to your blog – great discovery!

  3. I have never tasted the cauliflower and scallop combination. I must try this.

  4. Suzy says:

    Scallops and cauliflower do work together extremely well. The recipe i always make is one with sherry vinegar, plump raisins and capers (from the dreaded Flash Gordon, umm Gordon Ramsay).
    I like the idea of the apple and cauliflower cooked as a puree together and it must offset the scallops very well, then the crispy cauliflower. Heaven.

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