Scallops and yeasted cauliflower – a top combo

Quite probably the most cheffy dish I’ve ever cooked.

Seared scallops, yeasted cauliflower puree, roasted macadamia nuts, verjus-pickled sultanas and parsley oil.
It looked good and, according to the friends for whom I cooked, tasted pretty good, too, with its contrasting flavours and textures.

I was proud of both coming up with the combination of ingredients and with the execution of the cooking and preparation.

The ingredients for four

12 scallops
A cauliflower
Whole milk
Double cream

Deactivated yeast flakes (available at health food shops)
A few macadamia nuts
A few sultanas
A bunch of flat leaf parsley
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper

The method

Start by making the cauliflower puree, which stores perfectly well in the fridge and can be re-heated gently when needed.
Trim the cauliflower and separate the florets.
Place them in a pan and cover with whole milk, which helps give the finished thing a brilliant white colour.
Cook for around half-hour over medium heat until the cauliflower is soft.
Drain in a colander, then put in a clean pan and add lots of double cream and diced butter and mash. The aim to create quite a runny consistency.
Place in a food processor and blitz, then pass through a fine sieve to create a wonderfully smooth texture.
Place the puree in a fridge until needed.
Toast your nuts (I love Carry On humour….) in a dry pan over a low heat until they’re lightly coloured.

Place the sultanas in a small dish, add a good pinch of salt and verjus (or something similarly sharp) and leave the marinade for around an hour.
Wash and chop the parsley and mix with good olive oil and leave to infuse.
Scatter the yeast flakes in a tin and cook for a short time in a hot oven until they’re slightly crisp.
When you’re ready to cook, gently re-heat the puree.
Stir in the yeast flakes shortly before serving.
Then add olive to a frying pan and put over a high heat until the pol is smoking.
Dry the scallops thoroughly and dip in polenta seasoned with salt – I used a saffron-flavoured salt that added an extra dimension to the dish.
Carefully place the scallops in the pan and cook until one side is crisp and caramelised, then flip over, turn off the heat and allow the other side to warm through as you put the puree on the plate.
It’s easy to overcook scallops but timing depends on their size.
I gave mine 2 minutes on one side and probably 30 second on the other.
Assemble the dish and bask in appreciation of whoever you’re feeding.