Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc.
A dish very much inspired by simple Indian spicing. I use a high-quality Madras curry powder sourced from my local Indian supermarket and I suggest you do the same. If you do not have time to make the cauliflower bhaji accompaniment, this is a lovely, elegant dish in its own right.
Preparation: 40 mins, plus 1 hour infusing.
Cooking: 20 mins.
Special equipment: Blender.
|For the scallops|
|6||hand-dived large scallops (about 180g), cleaned *1|
|1 pinch||Sea salt|
|1 tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 squeeze||Lime juice|
|1 tbsp||Curry oil (from below)|
|For the curry oil|
|1 tsp||Madras curry powder|
|100ml||Extra virgin olive oil, warmed|
|1||Lemongrass stalk, bruised and finely chopped *2|
|2||Kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced|
|1/2||Grated zest and juice of a lime|
|1 pinch||Sea salt|
|For the cauliflower purée|
|1/2||Large cauliflower (250g), cut into small florets|
|2 pinches||Sea salt|
|1 tsp||Lemon juice|
|For the seared cauliflower slices|
|2 tbsp||Olive oil|
|16||Fine cauliflower slices (200g)|
|1 pinch||Sea salt (optional)|
|20g||Mixed baby salad leaves|
|2 tsp||Curry oil (from above)|
|2 or 3||A few finely chopped chives|
The curry oil can be made up to a week ahead. The cauliflower purée can be made up to half a day in advance.
To prepare the curry oil
In a small frying pan over a medium heat, toast the curry powder for 5 minutes (*3) then add to the warm olive oil with the lemongrass, lime leaves and lime zest. Stir and set aside to infuse in a warm place for 1 hour. Strain the oil through a fine sieve (*4) into a bowl and add the salt and lime juice. Cover and set aside until needed.
To make the cauliflower purée
In a large saucepan, melt 25g butter over a medium heat and gently sweat the cauliflower for 3 minutes, seasoning with the salt (*5). Add the milk, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a blender and purée with just enough of the cooking liquor to make a smooth purée. In another pan, heat the remaining 40g butter to the beurre noisette stage (*6). Stir into the cauliflower purée with the lemon juice, then check the seasoning; keep warm.
To sear the cauliflower slices
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat, then add the cauliflower slices and sear for 1 minute on one side until golden brown; they should be half raw with a wonderful crunch. Transfer to a warm plate, season with a pinch of salt, if needed, and keep warm.
To cook the scallops
Season the scallops with the salt. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the scallops, flat side down, and sear for 1½ minutes until golden brown (*7), then turn the scallops over and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with a squeeze of lime juice and 1 tbsp of the curry oil. Transfer the scallops and the juices to a warm plate, season with another pinch of salt, if needed, and keep warm.
Put two spoonfuls of cauliflower purée on each plate and arrange the scallops in the middle. Lay the caramelised cauliflower around the outside of the plate and drizzle the deglazed pan juices over. Garnish with baby salad leaves, curry oil and chopped chives.
*1 We only source hand-dived scallops, as dredging the seabed for these prized shellfish leaves them full of sand and is liable to damage them. It also destroys their habitat and that of other marine life.
*2 Bruising the lemongrass with the back of a large knife draws out the natural oils, intensifying its aromatic flavour and making the curry oil more flavoursome.
*3 By toasting the curry powder you will bring out the natural oils present, making it more fragrant.
*4 At Le Manoir, we use very fine sieves and damp muslin cloths to strain out all solids from infused oils and sauces. You can easily do the same at home. Alternatively, the curry oil can be left to stand for an hour to allow the solids to sink to the bottom. You can then spoon off the clear oil from the top.
*5 By gently sweating vegetables you convert the natural starches into sugars, sweetening them and maximising their flavour.
*6 The butter will start to foam at approximately 130°C, turning a hazelnut colour at 150–155°C; i.e. the required beurre noisette stage.
*7 Searing the scallops slowly will release their natural sugars, promoting a golden brown crust. Be sure to regulate the temperature of the pan; too high and the scallops will over-caramelise and burn; too low and they will release their juices but not caramelise at all.
Recipe from Kitchen Secrets by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2011.
Photograph © David Griffin 2014.
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