Scallops with Cauliflower "Tabbouleh" and Bourbon Beet Puree
We had the most amazing dinner last night:
Sound fancy and complicated? It's really not. This dinner took us about 15 minutes to make (minus roasting the beets). And it's pretty darn healthy, too. It is still ridiculously hot and humid, so I knew I wanted a dinner that was light and refreshing. We didn't go to farmer's market on Saturday so our fridge is a bit bare and our crisper drawer had some things that needed to be used ASAP. Like half a head of cauliflower that needed to be used at the risk of it having to be thrown out. I love cauliflower - mac and cheese with cauliflower, curry cauliflower, roasted cauliflower, tandoori fried cauliflower a la Balliceaux (my heart is still swooning over that) but I didn't feel like having a heavy cauliflower dish. Plus, I really wanted to use roasted corn and peas. I had seen some cauliflower rice dishes floating around the blog world for some time now and I also saw a raw vegan tabbouleh from Nile at Broad Appetit (I wish I had tried this! At that point though, my stomach was about to explode). The cauliflower "tabbouleh" is inspired by the dish at Nile (which this blogger said was great!) and I'm so glad I took a chance and made it. It's light, refreshing, and suprisingly addictive. Sidenote - it makes awesome leftovers when drizzled with a dressing and left to sit overnight in the fridge.
We also had a lovely container of fresh, preservative free scallops from the fish monger that are the most amazing scallops I've ever tasted. Again, this is a dish born out of the need to use things up and lack of motivation to go the store. I suppose in some cases, laziness breeds creativity.
I conceptualized this dinner knowing I wanted the raw tabbouleh and scallops but was stuck on the sauce. I wanted roasted beets since we had some gorgeous chioggia beets that needed to be used, but I didn't quite know what to do with them. Brad said not to worry, he would take care of it. The sauce is Brad's brainchild and it is amazing. I'm actually sad that we used all of it for this dish since I think it would be great on so many things. It's super simple to make and is subtly sweet and earthy. Delicious.
All three components together, topped with a little julienned green apple (Yes - green apple. It totally brings the dish together) are a match made in heaven. The scallops are the star here but each component adds it's own unique flavor to the dish. Once you read through the recipes, you'll be surprised how easily and quickly you can whip up an elegant meal.
Note: Break out your food processor!
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets 3/4c roasted corn (I get mine frozen from Trader Joe's - if you use frozen, just defrost first) 3/4c peas a quarter of an onion, very finely minced (I apologize in advance for the massive amount of tears shed during this process) 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon coriander salt + pepper
1. Chop cauliflower into florets - make the size fairly uniform. 2. Add cauliflower to food processor and whirl away for about a minute or so until the cauliflower begins to look like rice. 3. Transfer to a large bowl and add peas, onion, and corn to the cauliflower. 4. Add olive oil, herbs, and spices. Salt and pepper to taste (you're going to need more salt than you think!). Set aside or refrigerate.
Pan-seared Scallops 1. Heat up about a tablespoon of canola oil (or other light high-heat oil) in a skillet. Get it really hot but not smoking. 2. While your pan is heating, dry your scallops! Pat dry with paper towls - dry scallop = beautiful crust. 3. Salt and pepper both sides of your scallops (*note: use white pepper - black pepper stains them) 4. Once your pan is hot, carefully add scallops and let sear for about 1-2 minutes. 5. Flip scallops and let sear another 1-2 minutes. Don't overcook them! They should be just barely opaque once you shut off the heat.
6. Remove scallops and set aside, keep the pan hot and add your bourbon *jump to #3 below!
1. Roast your beets! Preheat oven to 375F. Put beets into a packet of aluminum foil, drizzle beets with a tiny bit of oil, close up packet, and place in your oven for 25 minutes or longer. Mine took about an hour - you want them to be very tender and a fork should easily glide through them (go do some yoga in your living room while you wait). Once beets are cool, rub off skins and slice. 2. Place beets and 1/4 cup of water into blender. Blend until smooth. 3. After cooking your scallops, add about 3 tablespoons or so of good quality bourbon to the hot pan to deglaze - careful, it's going to get steamy. 4. While pan is steaming, scrape off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan - this is the good stuff. 5. Once you no longer smell alcohol (about a minute), add your beet puree. You made need to add some water to thin it out if you want a thinner sauce. 6. Cook puree and bourbon for another minute, stirring constantly. 7. Add in tablespoon of butter and continue cooking until butter has melted. 8. Once the butter has melted, strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer and sauce away.
Garnish with a few slices of julienned green apple - seriously, it really brings everything together!