Sunday, September 27, 2009

Seemingly Special for Saturday

"You could serve these at one of our dinner parties," James declared between bites. "This and not much else."
That's the highest complement James gives -- tempered with his regular criticism that I make too much or too many things when people come to dinner. None the less this simple dinner seemed to do the trick -- felt like a Saturday night but quick and easy enough for a Wednesday.
Saturday mornings I generally go to the neighborhood farmer's market. In spite of the recent very warm weather the cauliflower looked extra nice so I picked up a head and figured I'd come up with something. I nabbed the extra large scallops last night when work ended nearly at the doorstep of my favorite fish store. The big man wasn't hungry for dinner Friday -- so I had to use those scallops.
I thought about brown butter sauce, Coquille St Jacques (another of His Highness' favorites), but I kept coming back to that fresh cauliflower -- until I hatched a plan. Pan-seared, prosciutto-wrapped scallops with cauliflower puree and fresh arugula salad.
I broke the cauliflower up into florets (about one inch or so) and popped them in a saucepan of boiling water until tender. I drained the cauliflower (reserving some of the cooking water) and put it in the bowl of the food processor with S&P and a bit of the reserved water (very little). I gave this mixture a good turn in the processor getting it almost smooth. In the meantime I browned a little butter on the stove (when the butter was half-browned I popped in a crushed glove of garlic).
While the cauliflower was cooking I took half (lengthwise) a slice of prosciutto and wrapped it around each scallop and secured with a toothpick. I seasoned each side with S&P and put them aside until the cauliflower was ready.
In a sauté pan I heated a combination of olive oil and butter over high heat until very hot and added in the scallops. These were such big scallops that I was able to leave them to sear for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on the first side -- we like a nice dark sear. When I turned the scallops I added the brown butter to the cauliflower in the food processor and allowed it to run until very smooth.
To serve add a good dollop of cauliflower purée to your plate, top with fresh arugula, a sprinkle of parmesan and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. Remove the toothpicks and place the seared scallops on (or more like in) the arugula, and drizzle with a bit of the cooking oil. Dinner is served.

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