This was a birthday treat to myself. I love scallops but don't cook them often as Him Outdoors is lukewarm about them; I'm almost as fond of morcilla, the Spanish form of black pudding; the cauliflower puree I could eat with a spoon from the pan (and did).
It was a particularly satisfying dish to eat because we'd helped make the morcilla ourselves, at a Catalan cooking day in London we'd attended as part of Him Outdoors's birthday celebrations last year. (Fear not, it's been in the freezer.)
However, as sausage-making is not something you're likely to want to tackle after a long day at work, I suggest you buy some morcilla from your local Spanish deli, or use a good old English black pudding instead.
The morcilla and the scallops cook in minutes. The cauliflower puree is as easy as pie (easier actually). And you'll end up with a restaurant-quality dish, perfect as a starter or light supper.
Scallops With Morcilla and Cauliflower Puree
6 king scallops, with or without coral
Enough black pudding or morcilla to cut into 6 equal sizes
1/2 head of cauliflower
About 400 ml semi-skimmed milk
1 bay leaf
20g grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
First make the cauliflower puree: separate the cauliflower into small florets and put them with the bay leaf and milk into a saucepan with a pinch of salt. Simmer until the cauliflower is soft.
Strain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking liquid but discarding the bay leaf.
Puree the cauliflower with about 250 ml of the liquid until you have a smooth puree. Add more liquid if necessary.
Stir through the parmesan, season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm. Put your plates somewhere to warm.
Slice the morcilla or black pudding and sear quickly on each side in a little oil in a hot pan. Keep warm.
Season your scallops on one side, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan until sizzling and put the scallops in, seasoned side down.
Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your scallops, until lightly browned.
Then season their tops and flip them over to cook the other side, another 2-4 minutes.
Add the butter to the cauliflower puree and stir through, reheating if necessary.
To assemble: put a shmear of cauliflower puree on your plate, just like they do it on the telly, then arrange your scallops and morcilla attractively on top. Serve at once.
A version of this post first appeared at Mrs Portly's Kitchen.