Serves 6

Preparation time 2 hours, plus several hours crisping time

Cooking time 1 hour, 30 minutes

The executive chef of three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester gives us his recipe for hand-dived sea scallops with gratinated cauliflower. Impress everyone with this beautifully crafted and presented dish.


Ingredients

  • 12 scallops (50g/1¾ oz each) – clean and
    keep the skirts aside

For the egg confit

  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 50ml (1¾ fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A pinch of salt

For the cauliflower chips

  • Half a cauliflower (medium in size)
  • 250ml (8½ fl oz) vegetable oil
  • For the cauliflower crumble
  • 300g (10½ oz) cauliflower (grated)
  • 300g (10½ oz) Comté cheese (grated)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • A pinch of cracked black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp flour

For the cauliflower purée

  • 1 cauliflower (medium in size)
  • 1 litre (2 pints 2 fl oz) milk
  • 1 litre (2 pints 2 fl oz) cream
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g (1¾ oz) butter

For the cauliflower condiment

  • 30ml (1 fl oz) olive oil
  • 150g (5¼ oz) cauliflower (cut into very
    small pieces)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 60g (2oz) butter
  • 25g (1oz) Comté cheese (grated using a
    Microplane)
  • 50g (1¾ oz) hard-boiled egg (diced small)
  • 30g (1oz) flour
  • 100ml (3 1⁄3 fl oz) milk
  • 3 grates lemon zest (using a fine grater)
  • A pinch of black pepper (ground)

For the stuffed cauliflower (garnish)

  • 1 large piece cauliflower
  • 2 litres (3½ pints) milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 18 large thin slices Comté cheese

For the scallop jus

  • 100g (3½ oz) scallop skirts (thoroughly
    cleaned of all sand – must be white)
  • 300g (10½ oz) cauliflower (chopped
    finely)
  • 100g (3½ oz) shallots (chopped)
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) white wine
  • 15g (½ oz) butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • A pinch of cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp dry fennel
  • A pinch of salt
  • 10g (1⁄3 oz) egg yolk (confit – see below)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) cauliflower juice
  • (extracted from a fresh cauliflower via
  • vegetable juicer)
  • 2 tbsp cauliflower purée

Directions

For the scallops

1Ask your fishmonger to clean the scallops and remove them from their shells.

2Ask them to keep the scallop skirts on the side, as these will be used in the recipe to create the jus, but must be washed thoroughly before use.

For the egg confit

1In a deep pan, gently place the unbroken egg yolks into the olive oil with all the aromatics (thyme, garlic and salt) and gently poach for 15 minutes at a temperature of 65°C/150°F (this can be done in a warm oven, or on the stove top).

2Once the egg yolks have cooked for 15 minutes, leave them to cool to room temperature in the olive oil.

3Gently remove the egg yolks from the olive oil, and strain them through a small sieve. Put into a clean container and keep aside until ready to use.

For the cauliflower chips

1Using a mandolin, slice some large cauliflower florets into 3mm slices.

2In a high-sided pan, heat the vegetable oil until it reaches a temperature of 130°C (250°F).

3Fry the cauliflower chips in the vegetable oil until they start to go golden in colour.

4Remove the cauliflower from the oil and lay the slices on an oven tray.

5Place the tray in a warm oven at 80°C/175°F and dry the slices for a few hours until they are crisp.

For the cauliflower crumble

1Finely grate 300g (10½ oz) of cauliflower and 300g (10½ oz) of Comté cheese.

2In a bowl, combine the grated cheese, cauliflower, lemon zest, pepper, salt and flour, and once thoroughly mixed, spread this mixture very thinly onto a baking tray.

3Gently remove the egg yolks from the olive oil, and strain them through a small sieve. Put into a clean container and keep aside until ready to use.

For the cauliflower purée

1In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to the boil, and add the salt.

2Cut the cauliflower finely and add this to the pan. Cook the cauliflower until it’s extremely tender.

3Remove the cauliflower from the pan and in a blender, blitz it for at least 10 minutes to make a purée.

4Add the butter to the purée, and then strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Set aside.

For the cauliflower condiment

1Make a classic béchamel. In a saucepan, melt 30g (1oz) of butter and add 30g (1oz) of flour, stirring until a paste forms.

2Lightly cook this for one minute on low heat, being careful not to burn the paste, then add 100ml (3 1⁄3 fl oz) of milk, and continue to stir over a medium heat until the béchamel sauce has thickened considerably.

3Cut the cauliflower into very small pieces, as the condiment will be coarse in texture.

4Warm the olive oil in a pan and add the cauliflower, lightly roasting it until it starts to turn light golden in colour.

5Add the butter to the pan and continue to colour the cauliflower. Once nicely golden, remove the excess fat from the pan with some paper.

6Add the grated Comté to the pan with the cauliflower, and continue cooking until the cheese has turned golden in colour, mixing the ingredients continuously

7Remove the pan from the stove, and add the béchamel, salt, lemon zest, and the diced hard-boiled egg.

8Spoon the warm condiment into a piping bag.

For the stuffed cauliflower (garnish)

1In a saucepan, bring the milk to the boil and add the salt.

2Cut the cauliflower into large florets (allowing two florets per person). Place these into the boiling milk and cook until completely tender.

3When the cauliflower is cooked to this stage it becomes malleable and larger gaps develop between the individual floret branches. These gaps will serve as the pockets to pipe the cauliflower condiment into.

4Once thoroughly cooked, remove the cauliflower from the milk, and pipe the condiment into all the gaps – in essence “stuffing” the cauliflower.

5Keep aside ready for plating.

For the scallop jus

1First, sweat the scallop skirts in a pan over a medium heat, covered with a lid. Wait a couple of minutes, then strain through a fine sieve, keeping the jus and the skirts in separate containers.

2Roast the finely chopped cauliflower in olive oil until it starts to caramelise.

3Then add the shallots and butter, and continue to colour until golden brown.

4Add the previously sautéed scallop skirts to the pan, and deglaze with half of the white wine (30ml/1 fl oz). Reduce and add the rest of the white wine and reduce once more.

5Once it has reduced by half, add the jus from the scallop skirts. Reduce this by half, then add the cauliflower juice and reduce by half again.

6Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pan and add a little cauliflower purée. Reduce the mixture to the desired consistency.

7Before plating, reheat the jus, then remove it from the heat and add the confit of egg yolk.

8Season with salt and pepper, and finish with a bit of lemon juice. (Once the egg yolk has been added to the sauce, it cannot be reheated as the egg will curdle.)

Preparation for plating

1Once you are ready to plate the dish, place two pieces of the stuffed cauliflower onto an oven tray and lay a very thin slice of Comté on top of each floret.

2Gratinate the cauliflower under a grill/broiler until the cheese has melted and the cauliflower is heated through – making sure not to colour the cheese.

3While the cauliflower floret is heating, reheat the scallop jus, and complete the final steps of adding the confit egg yolk and seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

4Reheat the cauliflower purée.

5In a hot pan with a little olive oil, sear the scallops on both sides until cooked. Once you have placed the scallop into the pan, don‘t move it, allow the bottom to brown then flip it over on the other side and do the same. Scallops get rubbery when over-cooked, so high heat and quick cooking is essential.

6Season the scallops with a little salt on both sides and plate.

To serve

1On a large round plate, spoon two dollops of cauliflower purée on the left-hand side, and top each with a little bit of the egg yolk confit

2Lay the gratinated cauliflower near these two dollops, and add the crumble on top of this and then artistically lay the chips around the plate.

3Lastly, plate the seared scallops. Optional: finely grate a small amount of slightly burnt brioche bread over the top, which provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the scallops.

4Serve and enjoy.

Extracted from Taste of France Magazine

Recipe courtesy of Jean-Philippe Blondet of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

FINAL TASTE BANNER

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