Caramelized Bay Scallops with Clementines, Capers & Cauliflower Puree

I know, i’ve been a bad bad blogger and i surely deserve a good spanking for my lack of posting lately but i couldn’t get myself excited enough to blog about Thanksgiving. I did cook for a bunch of people though, 25 to be exact, but it wasn’t anything so unique that you had to see it. So i skipped it altogether and you didn’t notice. At least you can pretend you didn’t, right?

I usually get more excited when i find beautiful things like Nantucket Bay Scallops at the market, or in this case Peconic Bay Scallops freshly arrived from Long Island. Those are beautiful things. One of my favorite way to enjoy them is ‘al crudo’, simply marinated with a squeeze of lemon, some sea salt and a touch of extra-virgin olive… maybe a little fresh chervil but that’s it. Those are nature’s wonder and could also be enjoyed plain. You won’t believe how sweet they are. They come only once a year, friends! And the time is now. Today i wanted to play around with them a little more and showcase their natural sweetness by caramelizing them and pairing them with other seasonal ingredients, clementines, kumquats, cauliflower with some capers in a supporting role. Once cooked these nuggets of love release their briny essence which, when mixed with sweet citrus and capers, becomes downright transcendent. Spooned over a creamy cauliflower puree, it’s heaven. You want to know the best part? This dish was prepared in less than 15 minutes. Take THAT Rachel Ray!
I also played with a variation on crudo with the rest of this batch of bay scallops. I simply marinated them in a green apple-coriander sauce and it rocked! Stay tuned for the recipe!
Caramelized Bay Scallops with Clementines, Capers & Cauliflower Puree
(serves 4)

  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • Salt and freshlt ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 dozen bay scallops, cleaned
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 clementines, peeled and segmented
  • Julienned zest of 4 kumquats
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Put the cauliflower into a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add 3 tablespoons of butter and process for 10 more seconds. Keep warm.

Warm the remaining butter and the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Season the scallops and slip them into the pan. Cook until they are golden and start to caramelize on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mount some cauliflower puree in the center of four warm plates and equally divide the bay scallops on top.

Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice. Add the clementines, kumquat zest, capers and parsley to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

Spoon the clementine-kumquat mixture over the top and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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  • Marc @ NoRecipes

    That looks REALLY good! Such an interesting combo of flavors.

  • Mandi

    Hey, I have been keeping an eye on you and have been waiting for your next update. This dish looks absolutely amazing. I know you are going to gasp here, but I have never eaten scallops (*##% – yes I know and you can imagine how much seafood is available in Australia!!)

    You have inspired me to have them next time I go out.

    Or maybe you can cook this fabulous dish for me one day!!!

    Well done……….you and Christo inspire me to think out side the square.

  • Manggy

    I see you are still in your John McCain phase, my friend. Hee hee hee. As if Rachael Ray would ever make something so divine! I’m developing a craving for scallops again…

  • Parker

    That looks incredibly delicious. I just love scallops.

  • doggybloggy

    crudo – cocido you name it I WILL eat it – I think…I hope I dont get challenged on this….oh…..nooooo

  • Nina Timm

    This is a wicked plate of food, Zenman!!! I love the flavor combinations you have used here!

  • Stacey Snacks

    I made a salad w/ some of my crated clementines for salad week posts.
    I love the idea of using them with scallops.
    Will try.

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    This is a great dish to my for my scallop-loving husband. I can dig the 15-minute thing.

    Just be careful about mentioning “She Who Must Not Be Named” in your blog.

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    fwiw, i actually did wonder what your crazy over the top Thanksgiving spread was 😉

    As for this dish, I love it! And with all the citrus around here at this time of year, it would be a sin really not to try it. On the to-do list for sure

  • Colloquial Cook

    Ahah, RRay peut aller se recoucher, sans dessert! Elle est battue à plate couture!

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    You might just turn me into a scallop lover with this dish. It’s fabulous!

  • My Taste Heaven

    that looks good!

  • flutterbyblue

    oh, wow. this looks really amazing!

  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Fantastic dish! I love every component of this and can’t wait to try this caper-clementine combo.

  • Tartelette

    Your lack of updates only means to things: 1/ you are very very busy or 2/ there is a woman behind all this. She’d better have a red polka dot bikini (well maybe not right now that it’s freezing :))
    Hope you are doing well!
    Love the scallop dish…I wish they’d keep the coral part here though! That little retro thing from childhood that I miss!!

  • Peter M

    Indeed…busy with a woman I see!

    I love the bed of cauliflower puree and like a good cook, one must “borrow” ideas, non? lol

    I’m sure you’ll make your rounds…give my regards to Broadway.

  • ironstef

    ohhh…what a lovely use of winter ingredients!

  • Steve

    Did you really cook the scallops for 5 minutes? I thought it would only take a minute or two and I don’t want to overcook them, so I figured I would just double check.

  • Chicopea

    Its about time Rachael Ray gets de-throned. Take that! Kudos to you zen and an excellent dish, I love citrusy flavors

  • acey

    zenman, i love the soud and look of this 1! may i borrow your recipe? :)

    ps: you take beautiful pics of food. always makes me hungry or crave certain flavors. 😀

    enjoy your weekend!!!

  • Jescel

    oh my.. food porn, i’m drooling! i don’t think we dont get that peconic bay scallops in my side of the world though :o( can i use sea scallops instead? hmmmn…

  • Elle

    I love you, scallops. Be my dinner.

  • Dawn

    ohhh clementines in there! I just love that!

  • Cindy. Lo.

    I’m craving for scallops now…
    Why you always make me feel so hungry!!

  • Vin de la Table

    Cauliflower is so underrated as a vehicle for cream and butter.

  • Emily

    You’re a madman and I love it. I want to get inside your head and take all of your great ideas.

    That’s kind of creepy, and I’m sorry about that.

    This looks wonderful! Yes, I’ve been craving your ravioli. Honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

  • snugs

    I had to come back and tell you that I got my pasta maker and finally had time today to try it out, so I spent the day today making your butternut squash ravioli recipe- it turned out fantastic for my first attempt making pasta! Not quite as pretty as yours, but very tasty. Thank you so much the detailed instructions, you made it very easy for my first try!

  • Manger La Ville

    Looks so good. Just a great combination of flavors. May I ask, where did you go to find the scallops so fresh, or is this an industry secret?

  • Zen Chef

    Thank you all for your kind comments!

    Steve, you’re right. 5 minutes is a little much. Probably 2 or 3 minutes tops. I will edit the recipe.

    Snugs, I’m happy it worked out for you! You’re now officially a pasta snob. haha. How does it feel? :-)

    Manger la ville, if you’re in NY there’s Citarella, Grace’s Market, Pisacane… Send me email if you have hard time finding them.

  • peter

    I bet the sweet scallops on the cauliflower were amazing. Chapeau.

    Word veri is “cratiot” which should be a French word if it isn’t.

  • glamah16

    I havent has scallpos in a while. Love the flavors going on here.

  • Jeff

    I don’t use scallops as much as I should and that is a shame. Hmm…maybe I can get them in sometime this week.

  • cook eat FRET

    i recently did scallops on a cauliflower puree with an apple sauce

    now i must do yours – soon. minus the butter. i must go there… apologies in advance. but i know you understand.

  • David Lee

    Wohh.. so yummy item. I love all the item. But all the item are ne w for me except top item. Let me try to make these food.