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.