Scallops with cauliflower chipotle cream

This is one of my cheat dishes. You know those ones that look really amazing but take 5 minutes to make and absolutely no technique? It’s inspired by a pintxo I tried in San Sebastian over the summer (Scallop with roasted nori and almond cream from Casa Urola), but it’s probably a lot easier to make.


  • 6 king scallops (cleaned and roe removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/3 cup pouring cream
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • dash of milk (optional)
  • dash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • lemon zest


  1. Toast off pine nuts in a dry pan and set aside
  2. Steam or microwave cauliflower until just soft (don’t overcook or it loses its sweetness)
  3. Blend cauliflower with cream, chipotle, and a dash of olive oil, adding milk if necessary – just enough to loosen the mix over the blender blades. Season to taste then transfer to a saucepan and set on a low heat.
  4. Pan-fry scallops in a dash of oil in a very hot pan for 60 to 90 seconds on each side.
  5. In the meantime, spoon the heated cauliflower cream onto dishes, then as the scallops are cooked, place them on top.
  6. Garnish with pine nuts and lemon zest.


  • You can prepare the recipe ahead of time to step three, and then come back to it later and complete in three minutes to serve.
  • Scallops are like prawns, they don’t need a whole lot of cooking, but at the same time, you don’t want them raw in the middle. As they cook, their translucency whitens. It’s ok if it’s still slightly translucent right in the middle, but the opaque whiteness should be prominent.
  • I like to serve these as small canapes, but three scallops per person would be a good entree size if you prefer a larger plate.
  • The cauliflower cream also makes an excellent soup with the addition of a cup of good stock and some fresh thyme.

Important information to factor

  • Cooking talent required: Not too much. Just watch your timing – it’s easy to overcook the scallops and burn the pine nuts.
  • Time taken: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 6
  • Nutrition (per serving): 103kCal, 8.4g fat, 15.45g carb, 5.1g protein. Looks good, but it won’t fill you up – this is just a large canape. Swap the 1/3 cup pouring cream for 1/4 cup of milk if you want to get rid of a good dose of the fat and carbs.
  • Environmental/sustainability rating: So-so. Scallops mainly come from China, so they will likely be imported, but they are sustainable and environmentally pretty awesome (except for calico (bay) scallops, which are depleted). Pine nuts are over-used, so if you want to save Russian woodland animals, then maybe opt for pumpkin seeds.

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