I don’t usually post much about my own cooking on this blog, but I was pretty happy with one of last night’s efforts: a tidy little starter of seared scallops with jamon Serrano, cauliflower, and anchovy-raisin dressing. A little messy on the presentation, but I was pretty happy with the results…
The dish was based on a recipe in Andrew McConnell’s Cumulus Inc cookbook, and it taught me a couple of things. One, do your cauliflower puree in a stand-up blender, and whizz the hell out of it. The texture is incomparable to what you’ll get, and what I’d previously been getting, with a domestic hand-blender (results may be better with big commercial models).
And two, make a little dressing of anchovies, raisins, capers, chilli, olive oil, and a few other bits and bobs – the full recipe is in the book. Big, bright, flavours here, with the funky umami of the anchovies balanced out by citrus and chili. This would not only make a great accompaniment to any white fish (I’m thinking snapper on the grill) but also, perhaps, pork tenderloin. Further experimentation required.
Next time I’ll also score and salt the scallops for ten minutes as per Thomas Keller’s suggestion for a quick mini-brine – this produces an unfailingly great crust on the seared sides – and I’ll be careful how early I prep them. The salt in the jamon seemed to slightly cook and draw moisture away from the scallops, and I think this might be better done, if not a la minute, at least closer to dinner time.