Makes 4 servings
This unique combination of flavors has been on the menu at Restaurant Jean Georges since its opening and it continues to draw raves. The form of the layered scallops and cauliflower is basic but lovely, and the dark green sauce has a mysterious, mustardy flavor; few people could guess what is in it, and almost no one could imagine how simple it is.
Choose a rich starter; such as Mushroom Tarts with Onions and Walnuts for a pleasant contrast.
1/3 cup capers, drained of most but not all of their liquid
1/3 cup golden raisins
8 to 12 cauliflower florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
4 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or other neutral-flavored oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
12 large sea scallops (at least 1 pound) cut in half through their equators
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus a little more
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine the capers and raisins in a small saucepan and add 1/4 cup water; simmer gently until the raisins are plump, about 10 minutes. Do not cook rapidly; you don't want to reduce the liquid. Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes, then purée it in a blender. Return it to the saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife or mandoline to cut the cauliflower florets into 1/4-inch-thick slices; you will need a total of 24 slices. Place 1 tablespoon each butter and oil in a large skillet and sauté the cauliflower over medium-high heat; do this in 2 batches to avoid crowding (add another tablespoon of butter or oil when necessary). Season it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Don't turn it too often; you want it to brown nicely. Total cooking time will be about 10 minutes, after which the cauliflower should be brown and crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm in a bowl in the oven.
3. Deglaze the pan by heating 1/4 cup of water in it and stirring and scraping the bottom over high heat for a minute or two. Add the parsley and pour this juice over the cauliflower; gently stir and return the cauliflower to the oven while you cook the scallops.
4. Place 1 tablespoon each butter and oil in another large ovenproof skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foams, add the scallops and cook on one side only until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Again, do this in 2 batches to avoid crowding (adding another tablespoon of butter or oil when necessary). Remove the scallops from the pan as they brown and season with salt and pepper; keep them warm in the oven.
5. Reheat the sauce, then add the nutmeg, vinegar; and pepper and salt, if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Spoon a little of the sauce onto each of 4 serving plates. Place 6 scallop pieces, browned side up, on each plate; top each scallop with a piece of cauliflower. Finish with a tiny grating of nutmeg.
Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef
By Jean-Georges Vongerichten
and Mark Bittman
Hardcover; 288 pages; $35.00
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created November 1998
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