Scallops with Cauliflower, Split Pea and Dill Cucumber
Whilst dining out a few years ago, I enjoyed my scallop entrée so much I asked the waiter where the scallops were sourced from. I was initially outraged to hear that they were from Canada; this revelation completely flew in the face of my determination to eat local produce. How dare this supposedly regional restaurant serve scallops from the other side of the world? However from that point onwards I noticed that restaurant after restaurant had begun using Canadian scallops, that was why their scallops were so much fatter and juicier than the ones I’d been cooking with or had eaten at other restaurants. My own self-righteousness against imported seafood had to go. Instead I began to smugly comment to waiters “I see your scallops are Canadian”.
Scallops are an easy way to turn your meal into restaurant quality. This summer my favourite way to cook scallops was to simply grill them in a hot skillet for a few minutes and serve with either a dill or lemon sauce. Now that the Melbourne weather is cooling quicker than the Labour Government’s approval ratings, I’m looking for warmer seasonal flavours to partner the scallop.
· Boil cauliflower florets until soft, drain.
· Whilst over heat, mix in some crème fraiche.
· Transfer mix to a food processor, add in onion salt, white pepper and mild paprika to taste.
· Blend until a smooth puree forms.
The split pea puree I found in a magnificent little book I was given named ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ by Niki Segnit. The book is a wonderful compendium for finding inspiring flavour combinations. I was a little disappointed with the texture of the split pea puree, so next time I’ll make up my own recipe, but the split pea flavour worked well with the scallop regardless.
The scallops were grilled for a few minutes over high heat, and the pickled dill cucumber I added were Zimmy’s Sour Dill Cucumbers purchased in the Barossa Valley. The dill cucumber gave the dish a nice sour kick in contrast with creaminess of the purees.
Bottom line: Scallop dishes are easy to recreate at home, ask your local fishmonger for Canadian scallops – they really are the best.