This is the kind of starter that, if I saw it on a restaurant menu, I would order immediately. I LOVE scallops, they are just so indulgent and actually, the shellfish that first got me eating seafood of any kind. They just have such a lovely flavour, and I got these beauties from The Ethical Shellfish Company, who ethically hand dive all of their scallops, and you can buy them in different sizes. I recommend going all out and opting for the extra large ones!
I’ve paired these beauties with a creamy cauliflower puree and some salty, crisp pancetta. It’s super indulgent and surprisingly easy to put together. To remove the fuss on Christmas day, I recommend making the cauliflower puree in advance, so then all you have to do is pan fry the bacon and the scallops! Easy! One thing you MUST do to finish – squeeze some fresh lemon juice over each plate to add a zing and brightness to the dish. Hope you love this recipe – I certainly loved creating it!
Pan Fried Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Pancetta
Ingredients (serves four, but can easily be doubled)
1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp olive oil
100ml double cream
4 rashers pancetta
12 large scallops
Salt and pepper
1. For the cauliflower puree, put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp of the butter and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the cauliflower florets and cook for five minutes until beginning to colour.
2. Add the milk to the pan, then cover with a lid (or some tin foil, if your pan doesn’t have a lid) and cook for 10-15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Pour everything into a food processor or blender, add the double cream and plenty of salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper to your tastes. If using immediately, pour into a saucepan and keep warm over a medium heat, or if storing, pour into a Tupperware container and pop in the fridge until needed (it will keep for 2-3 days).
3. Put a large, non-stick pan over a medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and, once hot, season the scallops with salt and add to the pan. Cook on one side for one minute, then flip over, add the butter, and continue cooking for another minute until JUST cooked through. Remove from the heat.
4. To assemble, spoon some of the cauliflower onto warmed plates. Top with the scallops (three per person), then break up the pancetta and add shards of it to each plate. Squeeze over some lemon juice and serve immediately.