sea scallops with cauliflower puree and granny smith sauce

October 17th, 2008 · 26 Comments

yes yes, scallops again. and again and again. have i mentioned how we love them over here? and have you seen the scallops that have been available lately? i’m not sure i even want to know how exactly it is that they are getting so huge, but i bought one yesterday that was like a small tenderloin, weighing in at 5.5 ounces.

but hey, i like them big because then it is ever so easy to sear the wholly hell out of them and still have them be good and rare in the middle. because that right there is what it’s all about in the world of scallop cooking. achieving the perfect crusty deep golden exterior that is basically pure umami – while not rendering the meat inside to a hard puck-like substance.

this dish was totally ripped off from a local restaurant here in town called 360 bistro. chef john david crow makes a dish like this that i absolutely love and so i decided to try my hand at replicating my last dinner there – or at the very least, come close. chef crow is a friend and i almost called him to get some pointers, but then i just got to cooking and well, i am telling you – 20 minutes from start to finish and we were eating a damn fine plate of food. which is once again proof positive that cooking does not have to be a long, drawn out laborious process. this was truly quick and painless with a huge payoff.

both the apple and the cauliflower were roughly chopped and thrown into separate pans with some water, covered and left to steam about 10 minutes. the cauliflower was then thrown into the food processor minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. while it pureed i drizzled in about 1/4 cup of my best olive oil. when i stopped the processor and spooned a bit of the cauliflower into my mouth i smiled. it was absolutely exquisite. dear readers, mashed potatoes have nothing on this. i am telling you. trust me. i care about you. all of you. this cauliflower puree? a winner… and yes, go butter or cream it up if you feel you must, but after this, i was giving the ol’ arteries a break. and really, a very good buttery spanish olive fit the bill wonderfully.

by this time the apple was soft and it got thrown into the chinoise sans water, and strained down to a very fine consistency. the sauce then went back on the stove to reduce down a bit more with some sugar and a pinch of salt.

the scallops got a good deep sear and were plated atop the cauliflower and then drizzled with the apple reduction. the parsley was ‘just because’ it was a rather drab and colorless dish – but regardless of its pallor, i am telling you… this was phenomenal. and on the healthy scale it ranked pretty high.

except we ate the entire head of cauliflower. the 2 of us. and as good as it was in the moment, it was A LOT of food.

an aside: i went through a raw phase once where nearly eveything got pureed. nuts, seeds and vegetables make delicious pates but the quantities get skewed when it’s all in a slice or a ball. i’d make chocolate cakes with nothing but nuts, avocado, coconut oil, agave and raw cocoa powder and the fat/calorie count was high as a kite. also raw macadamias are dangerously good when pureed with nothing but salt and onion…

the scallop thing? we’ve got it bad. and being the versatile little buggers that they are, it’s fun to dress them up according to what’s happening in your refrigerator, the season, or just your mood…

scallops, it’s what’s for dinner…


Tags: local · restaurants · seafood · vegetables

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 robin // caviar and codfish // Oct 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Jim and I share a head of cauliflower all the time – it’s so good!!

    Your scallops look so perfectly seared.

  • 2 dan // Oct 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

    omg that looks amazing!!!

    i once put food processed walnuts in my mashed taters. bet that’d be good in the cauliflower too…

  • 3 Amy // Oct 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    One word: YUM!

  • 4 cookiecrumb // Oct 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I believe you. Although I’d never have dreamed up apples ‘n’ scallops. But now, I’m thinking: Scallops are sweet, use your imagination.
    So thanks.

  • 5 Julia // Oct 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I do something very similiar — and I couldn’t agree more — it’s an awesome combination! I usually just do the cauliflower and apple in the same pot (after sauteeing them in butter first). An extra loving touch: I make a flavored oil with fresh vanilla bean and curry powder and drizzle that on top.

  • 6 Chris // Oct 17, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I love scallops.
    These look fabulous.

  • 7 noble pig // Oct 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Oh how yummy and cauliflower puree is my absolute favorite. I love you scallop crust, you are good.

  • 8 Marie // Oct 17, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I totally agree about the size of scallops lately. The last ones I bought at Whole Foods were huge, and oh so delicious!! That apple reduction sounds wonderful, I would have never thought to put those flavors together.

  • 9 We Are Never Full // Oct 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    god damn you and your fucking seared perfectly scallops!!!!!!!

    can you just do a friggin photo play-by-play for me? i can NEVER get it right.

  • 10 Salena of The Daily Rant // Oct 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I just LOVE scallops!! You have some great ways to prepare them here and every single photo makes them look utterly DELICIOUS!

    I’m really enjoying your archives. Being from New York (and from a restaurant owning family) and having lived in Nashville, I can’t tell you how many times my best friend and I (who currently lives there) have said “We should open a restaurant.”

    One of these days…

  • 11 Melissa // Oct 18, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    You know we’re big fans of scallops over here too. I’m always happy to see your posts for new ideas. And I love your description of the entire process.

    I’m down to do the cauliflower thing since I don’t like mashed potatoes very much. I make them really well, I know I do, but they just don’t do anything for me. I’ve seen cauliflower puree in the past (perhaps here? I dunno) and have wanted to try it as a sub.

    Very, very nice job. And that menu looks great. I’d like to try the shellfish stew.

  • 12 Kristie // Oct 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Scallops should never get that big. I’d start looking around their harvesting areas for nuclear waste vats tipped over into the water…

    Anyway, isn’t it badass when you get good enough at flavor identification and methodry that you can just walk into your favorite restaurant and figure out how the dish you’re eating was made? I love that.

  • 13 Lauren // Oct 18, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I can personally attest to the gigantic and flavorful scallop. Scallops are great.

  • 14 chefectomy // Oct 18, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    ok….YUMMM!!!!…Your talent is limitless.

  • 15 claudia // Oct 18, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    chefectomy – awww shucks

    lauren – scallops are great.

    kristie – i’m getting betterer all the time

    melissa – if you hit the puree just right it’s really a killer side

    salena – open a restaurant here… please? and nice to meet you!

    we are never full – we totally need to tawk. it’s a cinch once you know the ropes.

    marie – me neither. that’s why we rip off the pro’s!

    noble – i call the leftover crust in the pan that peels off in strips, scallop bacon

    chris – yup

    julie – damn that sounds GREAT

    cookie – wow, i gave YOU an idea? that’s a switch…

    amy – backatcha

    dan – i gotta try that. interesting…

    robin – ok – now i feel better knowing you do it too. and yes, i worked hard on my scallop crusting abilities…

  • 16 MangerLaVille // Oct 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Yummy, I love cawliflower puree and the apple “sauce” lends itself perfectly. It looks like you cooked your scallops perfectly…I can’t wait to try. I am very picky on where my scallops come from due to an unfortunate scallop incident.

  • 17 TaratheFoodie // Oct 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I agree… you just can’t go wrong with a perfectly seared sea scallop. They’re so easy to cook and so good with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. What could be easier than that? We’ve got the same sickness in our house, too, so you’re not alone. I believe we also share the same lamb affliction you two do. :-)

    And by the way, this dish looks great. The pureed cauliflower sounds deLISH!

  • 18 Peter // Oct 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I was just thinking about scallops in the car this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow… but I’m not sure about the apple sauce. Might do another sumac thing.

  • 19 ponyboat // Oct 19, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    what a beautiful dish! And the food looks wonderful too! I would eat scallops any old way. In fact, rarely can I order anything else when there is a scallop dish on the menu. But these in particular look so spectacular! I will have to try to find some decent sea scallops around here and try it, who knows maybe the Piggly Wiggly stocks them next to the catfish and tilapia.

  • 20 Marc @ NoRecipes // Oct 19, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Looks delicious. Love the the granny smith sauce! Have you ever tried scallop sashimi?

  • 21 Peter // Oct 20, 2008 at 6:37 am

    When I saw the title of this dish come thru my reader, I knew this would be goof and now it’s confirmed…delicious scallop plate.

  • 22 Donald // Oct 20, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I have noticed the ginormous scallops. I just did some with some braised greens and BACON! I mean these things were huge.

    The puree, we used to do that in the stead of mashed potatoes when on the SB diet. I grew to like them. They take on most any flavoring you put to them.

  • 23 Nate // Oct 20, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I wonder what it would be like to puree the apples and cauliflower together.

  • 24 Heather // Oct 21, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I can’t believe one scallop could constitute nearly two servings of protein. That’s obscene!

  • 25 Maffy // Oct 21, 2008 at 11:11 am

    What’s the secret to cooking scallops correctly? Dry pan? Olive oil? I love the deep crust on yours in the picture, but mine were cooked to the right temp/texture, but they didn’t have that serious sear on the outside. Thanks!

  • 26 maris // Oct 30, 2008 at 8:48 am

    This looks great! I’m not a big meat eater but so many fall-flavored recipes involve braised meat or heavy main courses but your granny smith sauce sounds like a perfect complement for scallops.

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