Preparing the Scallops:
- 12 pcs (50 gr each) Scallops (clean and keep the skirts aside)
- Ask your fishmonger to clean the scallops, and remove these from the shell.
- Ask your fishmonger to keep the scallop skirts on the side as these will be used in the recipe to create the jus, but must be washed thoroughly before use.
For the Egg Confit:
- 2 free range egg yolks
- 50 gr olive oil
- 5 gr thyme
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 gr salt
- In a deep pan, gently place the unbroken egg yolks into the olive oil with all the aromatics (thyme, garlic & salt) and gently poach for 15 minutes at a temperature of 65˚C (this can be achieved in a warm oven, or on the stove top).
- Once the egg yolks have cooked for 15 minutes, leave them to cool down in the olive oil to room temperature.
- Gently remove the egg yolks from the olive oil, and strain the yolks through a small sieve into a clean container & keep aside until ready to use.
For the Cauliflower Chips:
- ½ a cauliflower (medium in size)
- 250 gr vegetable oil
- Using a mandolin, slice some large cauliflower florets to 3mm slices.
- In a high pan, heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 130˚C.
- Fry the cauliflower chips in the vegetable oil until they start to get golden in colour.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oil and lay the slices on an oven tray.
- Place the tray in a warm oven at 80˚C and dry the slices for a few hours
until these are crisp.
For the Cauliflower Crumble:
- 300 gr cauliflower (grated)
- 300 gr Comté cheese (grated)
- 5 gr lemon zest
- 5 gr cracked black pepper
- 15 gr salt
- 10 gr flour
- With a fine grater, grate 300 grams of cauliflower.
- Using a Microplane, grate 300 grams of Comté cheese.
- In a bowl, combine the grated cheese, cauliflower, lemon zest, pepper, salt and flour, and once thoroughly mixed, spread this mixture very thinly onto a baking tray.
- Add the rest of the cheese on top of the mixture and dry this in a warm oven at 80˚C for a few hours, until nice and crisp.
For the Cauliflower Purée:
- 1 cauliflower (medium in size)
- 1 L milk
- 1 L cream
- 50 gr salt
- 50 gr butter
- In a sauce pan, bring the milk and cream to a boil, and add the salt.
- Cut the cauliflower finely and add this to the pan. Cook the cauliflower until extremely tender.
- Remove the cauliflower from the pan and in a blender, blitz the cauliflower for at least 10 minutes to make a purée.
- Add the butter to the purée, and then strain the purée through a fine sieve. Set aside.
For the Cauliflower Condiment:
- 30 gr olive oil
- 150 gr cauliflower (cut into very small pieces)
- 5 gr salt
- 60 gr butter
- 25 gr Comté cheese (grated using a Microplane)
- 50 gr hard-boiled egg (very small dice)
- 30 gr flour
- 100 gr milk
- 3 grates lemon zest (grated using a Microplane)
- 5 gr black pepper (ground)
- Make a classic béchamel. In a sauce pan, melt 30 grams of butter, and add 30 grams of flour until a paste forms. Lightly cook this for 1 minute on low heat, being careful not to burn the paste, and then add 100 grams of milk, and continue to stir over medium heat until the béchamel has thickened considerably.
- Cut the cauliflower into very small pieces as the condiment will be coarse in texture.
- Warm the olive oil in a pan and add the cauliflower, lightly roasting it until it starts to turn light golden in colour.
- Add the butter to the pan and continue to colour the cauliflower.
- Once nicely golden, remove the excess fat from the pan with some paper.
- Add the grated Comté to the pan with cauliflower, and continue cooking until the cheese has turned golden in colour, mixing the ingredients continuously.
- Remove the pan from the stove, and add the béchamel salt, lemon zest, and the small dice of hard-boiled egg.
- Fill the warm condiment into a piping bag.
For the Stuffed Cauliflower (garnish):
- 1 pc cauliflower (large in size)
- 2 L milk
- 50 gr salt
- 18 pcs Comté cheese (large thin slices)
- In a sauce pan, bring the milk to a boil and add the salt.
- Cut off the cauliflower’s large florets (2 florets per person) and place these into the boiling milk and cook until completely tender.
- When cauliflower is cooked to this stage it becomes malleable and larger gaps develop between the individual floret branches. These gaps will serve as the pockets to pipe the cauliflower condiment into.
- Once thoroughly cooked, remove the cauliflower from the milk, and pipe the condiment between all the gaps – in essence “stuffing” the cauliflower.
Keep aside ready for plating.
For the Scallop Jus:
- 100 gr scallop skirts (thoroughly cleaned of all sand – must be white)
- 300 gr cauliflower (chopped finely)
- 100 gr shallots (chopped)
- 60 gr white wine
- 15 gr butter
- 10 gr olive oil
- 2 gr cracked black pepper
- 1 gr dry fennel
- 2 gr salt
- 10 gr egg yolk (confit)
- 5 gr lemon juice
- 60 gr cauliflower juice (extracted from a fresh cauliflower via vegetable juicer)
- 2 tbsp cauliflower purée
- Extract the jus from the scallop skirt: Sweat the scallop skirts in a hot pan over a medium heat and cover with a lid. Wait a couple of minutes then strain through a fine sieve, keeping the jus and the skirts in separate containers.
- Roast the finely chopped cauliflower in olive oil until it starts to caramelize.
- Then, add the shallots and butter and continue to colour until golden brown.
- Add the previously sautéed scallop skirts into the pan, and deglaze with half of the white wine (30gr), reduce and add the rest of the white wine and reduce once more.
- Once it is reduced by half, add the jus from the scallop skirts, reduce this by half, and then add the cauliflower juice and reduce by half.
- Into a clean pan, strain the liquid through a fine sieve and add a little cauliflower purée and reduce the mixture to the desired consistency.
- Before plating, reheat the jus, remove it from the heat and add the confit of egg yolk.
- Season with salt and pepper, and finish with a bit of lemon juice. (Once the egg yolk is been added to the sauce, it cannot be reheated as the egg will curdle.)
Preparation for plating:
- 1 large round plate
- 2 scallops (cleaned)
- Confit egg yolk
- Cauliflower puree
- 1st & 2nd Cauliflower chips
- Stuffed cauliflower
- Scallop jus
- Once you are ready to plate the dish, place 2 pieces of the stuffed cauliflower onto an oven tray and lay a very thin slice of Comté on top of each floret.
- Gratinate the cauliflower under a grill/broiler until the cheese has melted and the cauliflower is heated through – make sure not to colour the cheese.
- While the cauliflower floret is heating, reheat the scallop jus, and complete the final steps of adding the confit egg yolk and seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Reheat the cauliflower purée.
- In a hot pan with a little olive oil, sear both sides until cooked. Tip: when placing the scallop in the pan, do not move it, allow the bottom to brown and then flip it over on the other side and do the same. Scallops get rubbery when over-cooked so high heat and quick cooking is essential.
- Season the scallops with a little salt on both sides and plate.
Plating the dish:
- On a large round plate, spoon 2 dollops of cauliflower purée on the left-hand side, and top each with a little bit of the egg yolk confit.
- Lay the gratinated cauliflower near these 2 dollops, and add the cauliflower crumble on top of this and then artistically lay the chips around the plate.
- Lastly, plate the seared scallops.
- Optional: grating a small amount of slightly burnt piece of brioche bread over the top with a Microplane provides a nice bitter contrast to the sweetness of the scallops.
- Serve and enjoy.
Image © Pierre Monetta