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Seared Scallops with Cauliflower, Brown Butter, and Basil

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

In this easily assembled meal, vermouth-laced brown butter imbues cauliflower with deep flavor, while a basil garnish adds color and freshness.


  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small head cauliflower (1 lb.), trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 lb. all-natural (dry-packed) sea scallops
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 300
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 150
  • Fat (g): 17
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 55
  • Sodium (mg): 270
  • Carbohydrates (g): 8
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 21


  • Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

    Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil to the skillet. When shimmering hot, add the scallops in a single layer. Cook until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the scallops are barely cooked through, about 2 minutes more (if you cut into one, it should still be slightly translucent in the center). Transfer to another bowl.

    Swirl the butter into the skillet, add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until the shallot softens and the butter begins to brown, about 1 minute.

    Add the vermouth and bring it to a boil, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Return the cauliflower to the skillet and season with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower florets are tender, about 6 minutes.

    Return the scallops to the pan and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the basil, and serve.

Serve with a simple side: Sauteed Spinach with Shallots.


Rate or Review

Reviews (8 reviews)

  • joannalynn60 | 08/18/2014

    I rarely rate anything from FC with only a three star rating. It was "okay", not as outstanding as other recipes I've used. It was lacking depth. I'll try it again, next time adding a small amount of salt to each layer, instead of just at the end. Not sure how to accomplish it, but I also had difficulty getting the butter to brown since the shallots put off so much liquid. It's worth trying again though.

  • user-3203776 | 02/08/2014

    ok sense i am a seafood expert and restaurant owner and C.E.C,,this is a bit nu- complex for me,,it needs something,,like Sun-dried Tomatoes..or some Fire roasted Bell Peppers,,the dry scallops,,are a great choice,,,,Chef D

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