This is hands down the prettiest looking dish I think I have ever created.
Scallops are always a dinner party favourite, so I really wanted to include them in the "Dinner from the Darkside" menu.
To do this I used black ingredients in the recipe that I knew would compliment or enhance the scallops further. Black salt and black pudding. Rich gutsy black ingredients to bring together creamy puree and light buttery scallops. All I could do was put it together and hope for the best, and I was thrilled with the results. So were my guests, which is even more important.
Despite there being a couple of steps to this recipe, it is more than possible to pull it off and 'wow' your dinner party guests. Everyone will love it, even the black pudding haters.
INGREDIENTS Serves 6 You will need a food processor or blender for this recipe. SCALLOPS 18 scallops, row removed Butter and olive oil for the pan CAULIFLOWER PUREE 1 head of cauliflower, all florets cut from the woody stem. 2 cups milk 1L chicken stock 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1 small-medium wedge of roaring forties blue cheese, or blue castello, crumbled. 3/4-1cup thickened cream Salt and pepper CANDIED BALSAMIC BEETROOT 'JUS' 1-2 beetroot, peeled, cut into thick rectangular pieces about 2cm x 1cm Water, to cover beetroot in a small saucepan (cover by 1-2cm) 1/4 cup caster sugar 1-2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar GARNISH Black salt 1 X black pudding sausage (boudin noir), sliced into 5mm slices Garlic olive oil OPTIONAL Edible flowers Micro herbs (sorrel or tatsoi)
METHOD 1. Candied balsamic beetroot 'jus' (STEPS 1, 2 and 8) - place beetroot and water to cover in a small saucepan. Being to a steady simmer and cook until just softened. Ensure water level is only just covering the beetroot pieces at this point. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Simmer gently for a minute or 2 and add the aged balsamic in dashes. Taste the 'jus' each time you add a dash of aged balsamic and stir. The balsamic should add a subtle flavour and not take over the slight sweet taste of the sweetened beetroot 'jus'. When it appears to thicken slightly and taste right, remove from heat. IF the sauce appears too thick and sweet add a dash of additional water.
2. When cool, remove the beetroot pieces and cut into small 5mm cubes. Return to the sauce and set aside until plating.
3. Cauliflower puree (STEPS 3, 4 and 8) - in a large pot or saucepan place the cauliflower florets and cover with stock and milk. Add water if there is not enough liquid. Being to a simmer on a medium high heat and cook until the cauliflower is softened. Be careful not to boil rapidly and ruin the milk. Drain and cool slightly. Add to the food processor and process until smooth. Return the cauliflower to the pot/saucepan. Wash food processor so it is ready for the black pudding (boudin noir) crumbs.
4. Pour the cream into the puréed cauliflower and stir together over a medium-low heat. Do not boil. As the cream heats add the blue cheese and continue tasting until you can taste a hint of the blue. Season to taste, remove from heat and set aside for plating.
5. Boudin noir (STEPS 5, 6 and 8) - to make the crumb out of the black pudding, sear slices of the black pudding on a medium heat in a fry pan with oil, so as not to burn. Turn the slices a few times, ensuring they are cooking to a slight crisp texture. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel. This will take 2-3 batches.
6. When all has cooled on the draining paper, add the slices to the food processor and pulse or process to a chunky crumb. Return this chunky crumb to the pan and cook again to crisp a little further (1-2mins). Remove from the pan to draining paper again. Once the crumb has cooled transfer to a bowl and set aside for plating.
7. Scallops (STEPS 7 and 8) - heat a fry pan on medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a small amount of butter and a light drink of olive oil. Sear scallops in small batches of 6 so as not to overcrowd the pan. Turn them once or twice to ensure a golden crust forms. Remove each batch from heat to paper towel when cooked.
Ultimately this is time for you to be creative and do whatever you like, but if you'd like some general guidance, below is what I did when making this dish for "Dinner from the Darkside". - Ensure the puree is heated and the beetroot jus and crumb are also warm. Get all garnishes ready to go. Dollop the cauliflower puree off centre on the plate and smear around in a semi-circle. - Use a teaspoon to drizzle some of the beetroot 'jus' from the tail end of the puree and continue in a circular motion around the plate. Use little tongs or food tweezers to distribute some candied beetroot cubes onto the jus tail of the plate. - Place three scallops onto the cauliflower puree. Season them with the black salt. - Scatter the micro herbs and edible flowers over the top. - Run a drizzle of the garlic olive oil around the rest of the plate.
Serve with a beautiful wine and enjoy!
The indulgent creamy cauliflower puree and scallops cry out for a chardonnay.
Don't be scared by a chardonnay! The 'new world' chardonnays are fabulous. Pick a good one and it will be the perfect partner to this super fancy scallop dish.
We had a beautiful Audrey Wilkinson Winemakers Selection 2011 Chardonnay with our scallops, and it was amazing. Highly recommended.
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