A Sarcastic Appetite


Scallops with Cauliflower, Dried Cherries & Capers
January 16, 2011, 11:52 pm
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Sounds weird, right? It’s one of those magical dishes where the sum of its [very disparate] parts equals something really delicious. I made this awhile ago, when the threat of that diet loomed, and I was trying to figure out what we could eat without killing each other. Of course, if he were really following it now, I am pretty sure a fair number of these ingredients would be verboten anyway. Thankfully, he just seems to be doing some kind of abbreviated version, cutting out most junk but without getting too anal about it. Yet.

And though I had been eyeing this number as a possible new “diet dinner” in the new year, I’m really just fooling myself; the only sauce here is butter. (Don’t get me wrong – it’s amazing.)

It’s from Michael Psilakis’ excellent How to Roast a Lamb, and he tells you everything you need to know in the recipe’s headnote; it’s almost a kind of stir-fry, so have everything all set before you get started. It comes together fairly quickly, though it does require several pans.

The end result, though, is delicious; all the veggies trick you into thinking you’re eating something healthy, but the outrageous sauce and the sweet-salty combination of cherries and capers remind you that no, in fact, you’re not. Which of course counts as success in my book.

Scallops with Cauliflower, Dried Cherries & Capers

Barely adapted from How to Roast a Lamb. Serves 2 as an entree.

1 small cauliflower head, chopped into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 big handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
1 large shallot, finely chopped, divided
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
1 stick butter, divided
6 large sage leaves, sliced thinly
3 tbsp. dried tart cherries
2 tbsp. drained capers

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add half the minced shallot and saute for a few minutes; add the cauliflower, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the cauliflower caramelizes slightly.  Add the rest of the olive oil, then add the spinach leaves and toss until wilted, about another 3. Divide among 2 plates. Heat 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large pan, then cook the scallops on medium-high heat, seasoned with salt and pepper, for about 2 minutes per side; don’t crowd them or they’ll steam. Pile 4 scallops on top of the cauliflower mixture on each plate.

In a small saucepan, heat the rest of the butter (6 tbsp.) over low heat. Add the rest of the shallots; once the foam subsides, add the sage leaves, cherries, and capers. Heat through – don’t let the butter burn – before spooning over the finished plates.