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Recipe

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Purée and Fried Capers

Featured in our 2017 Christmas Guide
Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Sweet scallops nestled in a dreamy, creamy cauliflower purée make a simple but elegant dish. Crisped capers add just the right bit of briny pop.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets (about 3-1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne; more to taste
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil; more as needed
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, patted dry
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/4 lb. dry sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter; more as needed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 350
      Fat Calories (kcal): 30
      Fat (g): 25
      Saturated Fat (g): 10
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
      Cholesterol (mg): 75
      Sodium (mg): 1080
      Carbohydrates (g): 11
      Fiber (g): 2
      Sugar (g): 3
      Protein (g): 21

Preparation

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel.
  • In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the cream and 1 tsp. of the thyme to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 7 to 9 minutes.
  • In a wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and season with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and steam until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet and let dry for a few minutes. Remove the towel, letting the cauliflower fall onto the baking sheet, and bake the cauliflower until dry but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender, and add the cream, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the cayenne. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt, lemon juice, and cayenne. Keep warm.
  • Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and the remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme, cover with a splatter shield (if you have one), and cook, stirring occasionally, until the capers are golden and puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest, cook for just a few seconds, and then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers, thyme, and zest to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Pat the scallops dry. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the butter. Season the scallops with salt. Working in batches if necessary to keep from crowding, cook the scallops, undisturbed, until very well browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just barely cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes more, depending on size. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, if necessary, wiping out the pan and adding more butter and oil as needed.
  • Divide the cauliflower purée among serving plates, and top with the scallops. Garnish with the capers and parsley, and serve.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • joannalynn60 | 04/16/2017

    OMG! Definitely restaurant quality. I wouldn't change a thing, except for doubling the cauliflower puree. One recipe would have been good for three people. Served with roasted asparagus, which works wonderfully.

  • lmjMadrid | 01/05/2017

    Double the cauliflower. No need to bake after steaming, just dry well. I didn't have fresh thyme, so used dried. Fresh would be better for sure. My husband licked his plate. 3 scallops for me, 4 for my husband, and that's what I'll do for guests, too.

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