This is a simple but impressive starter. Buy pomegranates from now until about March. When I worked in Portugal we had a pomegranate tree in the garden, so I was spoilt for choice, but try to buy one which feels heavy for it’s size. Try to find hand dived scallops, preferably in the shell. You can buy wild rice in shops like Real foods, otherwise from lots of places online.
Seared Scallops with Spiced Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Wild Rice
(serves four as a starter)
8 hand dived scallops, coral removed
1 small cauliflower
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp mild curry powder
1/3 tsp ground cumin
a handful of wild rice
50ml rapeseed oil
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Heat the butter in a heavy based pan over a medium heat.
- Sweat the cauliflower for 10 minutes with a pinch of salt. After about 5 minutes the cauliflower should start to colour. If it doesn’t, turn up the heat.
- Once the cauliflower is lightly coloured, add the spices. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
- Add 100ml water, and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes until tender.
- Tip everything into a jug blender with the cream, and blend on full power for 2-3 minutes, or until velvety and smooth, check the seasoning.
- In a deep, heavy pan heat 200ml of vegetable oil. If you have a digital thermometer, heat the oil to 200*C. If not, heat until the oil is almost smoking. TAKE GREAT CARE WITH OIL THIS HOT.
- Sprinkle a few grains of rice into the pan. If the oil is hot enough, it will puff up immediately.
- Fry the rice for about 15-20 seconds until puffed and golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. When cool, season lightly with salt.
Pomegranate and apple
- Half the pomegranate. Remove the seeds. The best way is to hold the cut side facing down (over a bowl) and hit the outside with a wooden spoon.
- Peel and dice the apple.
- Mix the apple and pomegranate seeds with a pinch of sugar and salt, a squeeze of lemon, and the rapeseed oil.
- Heat a heavy frying pan over high heat.
- Season the scallops with salt just before cooking. Fry in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 60-90 seconds until golden. Place the presentation side of the scallop in the pan first.
- Turn the scallops, and add a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon. Baste the scallops in the foaming butter for another 60-90 seconds depending on size.
- The scallops should firm up, but should still feel slightly soft in the middle. Rest for 2 minutes.
Serve in the shell, or on a warmed plate.
Reheat the cauliflower puree, and spoon two tablespoons in the centre.
Place the scallops onto the puree. Spoon over the pomegranate and apple dressing.
Sprinkle over the wild rice.