Roasted Scallops, Serrano Ham, Romesco Cauliflower puree, Parmesan foam, Pimentón


I had a few things leftover in the refrigerator and an hour to kill so i came up with this dish. Sorry for the lack of blogging lately but this is busy season for me between trips to the Hamptons and consulting for an ice cream shop on my days off. My brain feels like an egg over-easy, fried on the outside – runny on the inside, and i’m trying real hard not to poke the yolk.


I took the time to cook you dinner though. Sweet diver scallops wrapped with serrano ham and pan-roasted. They go on top on a delicious romesco cauliflower puree finished with brown butter. A parmesan foam provide a not-so-virtual touch and a sprinkle of pimentón brings out the smokiness. Foamy sauces are tricky to photograph for the camera challenged like me, you adjust and re-adjust your settings.. they’re gone. That’s when i usually bang my head against the wall, also carefully not to poke the yolk. I gave it my best shot. The taste was right on the money though, the parmesan paired really well with the serrano ham and the sweetness of the scallops. The pimentón didn’t make the picture but made the dish sing. No really, it wasn’t me singing.



  • Roasted Scallops, Serrano Ham, Romesco Cauliflower puree, Parmesan foam, Pimentón

    • Serves 4
    • For the scallops:
    • 8 fresh scallops
    • 4 slices serrano ham
    • salt and black pepper
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • For the cauliflower puree:
    • 1 head Romesco cauliflower
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • For the parmesan foam:
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
    • 2 or 3 tablespoons butter
    • salt to taste
    • Finishing:
    • Asparagus and peas, cooked
    • Pimentón, to taste
    • scallops-5

    • For the scallops:
    • Cut the slices of serrano ham in half, the long way. Wrap each scallops with a strip and secure with a tooth pick. Season with salt and pepper.
    • When all the components of the dish are ready, heat a heavy bottomed skillet and sear the scallops until they turn golden brown.
  • For the cauliflower puree:
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender. Strain and reserve some of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile make a brown butter. Place the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and drizzle the brown butter. Process until you obtain a smooth puree, adding a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid if necessary. Adjust seasoning.
  • For the parmesan foam:
  • Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan with the parmesan and butter until the parmesan dissolves. Do not let it boil. Add salt if necessary. Froth the parmesan foam with a hand blender.
  • To serve:
  • Spoon some of the puree in the center of the plate, top with the scallops. Place some asparagus and peas around. Spoon the parmesan foam over the scallops. Sprinkle with a little bit of pimentón. Serve immediately.
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  • Ginny

    Thanks for dinner! I love it! :)

  • doggybloggy

    I think I caught myself humming – just a little bit!

  • Elin

    what a tantalizing dish!And you did in an hour! Whoaaa…you are great:p Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and mouthwatering dish…keep them coming :)

  • Ciaochowlinda

    Now that is one tempting dish.

  • Michael

    Thanks for the idea! I’ve got some romanesco broccoli in the refrigerator that I was going to probably saute, but I think I”ll try to puree it.

    Consulting for an ice cream shop sounds cool, are you helping them with flavors?

  • zenchef

    Michael, I’m helping with everything from the machines to the flavors. We are still on the early stages so it will take a while. Can’t wait to play with those italian ice cream machines though.

  • Colloquial Cook

    Pimenton? Did you say pimenton?? Ouais zy va!

    Hem, I also note the use of a “foam” [smirk]Mhh. Vous êtes absous pour cette fois, mon fils, mais ne recommencez plus.

  • Peter

    Zen, this dish will win you a blogging Michelen Star…c’est vrai!

  • Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    A beautiful scallop dish! I love the addition of pimenton to get the smoky flavor and the parmesan foam is fabulous!

  • Darina

    I hardly think you are camera challeneged–those pics are awesome. And that meal looks absolutely delicious.

  • matt

    Looks fantastic. Great photos too. My only problem is with the “food spit” going on there… fantastic, modern dish. You photoed the food spit just perfectly I have to say. I also have to say you are certainly not camera challenged.

  • Elle

    S, you have this strange way of *always* making me want scallops. They’re beautiful, as always.

  • Veronica

    This looks so amazing, must try this weekend! Thanks!

  • Eralda

    Mmmm…delicious dinner. Thanks for thinking of me :)

  • cakebrain

    whoa-hoh! a parmesan foam! When I win the lottery, I’m seeking you out and stealing you away to be my personal chef! I love the crust on the scallops!

  • _ts-eatingclubvancouver

    Brain as eggs over-easy: that is the best image. I’m imagining you really trying not to poke the yolk! =D

  • Rasa Malaysia

    Spanish royal, that’s impressive work Zen! And you did foam, that’s totally cool. When are you going to get on Top Chef? You are definitely better than Fabio from last season! Go Zen, and I remember the 24-course you owe me, and when you are famous, I can do guest appearance and will make Malay and Nyonya food for you! :)

  • Rachel (S[d]OC)

    But if you don’t poke the yolk, how will you dip your toast?

    Love the brown butter in the cauliflower puree. I must steal that!

  • Rachel (S[d]OC)

    I must add, that the whole brain-as-egg does so nicely harken back to my high school days.

    This is your brain (show egg)

    This is drugs (hot skillet)

    This is your brain on drugs (egg frying in hot skillet)

    Any questions?

    I had a poster in college that said, “This is your brain with a side of bacon”

  • dawn

    oh life in the Hamptons is hard, yes 😛
    Now ice cream consulting, can be easy. LOL
    Wonderful dish/creation my friend…but then again everything you make is fabuuuuulous.

  • Veron

    Since you are so busy you probably don’t have time to watch royal pains which is about a concierge doctor in the Hamptons. Lovely scallop dish.

  • Jackie at

    Such a delicate dish with complex flavors. The foam, the chile and the perfect seared scallop, mmmm I’m melting

  • Mia King

    Oh yum. So insanely unfair that I have to look at it and can’t eat it.

    Book is out today and I was wondering if I can use pictures from your blog of the tart on my blog/FB? You’ll get credit for recipe and photos, of course! I thought it only fair to torture others with pictures as well as myself.


  • Jeff

    Camera challenged my ass brother the pics look rocking!!

    You are reminding me I have not had scallops in ages. Need to remedy this immediately!

  • Alejandra

    Oh wow!! You are a genius, my dear! That looks so good. And I’m reading this on an absolutely full stomach after lunch. The picture is gorgeous. Great job with the new camera.

  • jen

    this really makes my lunch insufficient in comparison.

  • Marc @ NoRecipes

    This looks so much better than the scallops we had at Fishtail tonight!

  • zenchef

    Of course Mia, you can use whatever picture you like. I received the book and it looks fabulous! Thank you so much!

  • jessica

    thank u so much for the tip ! i really needed 2 know how 2 make parmesan foam for my chemistry project!:)

  • Anonymous

    Wow, great recipe! Excellent results at home when I made it. I just replaced the ham by some Spanish iberico de bellota ham, also called black hoof or pata negra for an improved and more refine taste. Definitely one recipe to keep on my cooking book.
    If you need to find jamon iberico, go to buy jamon iberico online and have it delivered to your door.