Oh dear, where do I begin? Creamy Scallops with Bacon from Justine Pattison turned into a ‘date night’ disaster for me recently. The first red flag was that my brilliant local fishmonger was temporarily closed due to COVID-19, prompting a rush of blood as I naively ordered frozen scallops from a supermarket. The difference ibetween fresh, quality scallops and frozen supermarket ones is night and day.
My second, even bigger faux pas, was buying a larger cauliflower to make the creamy puree. In doing so, the sauce completely overwhelmed any chance of tasting, let alone finding, the bacon and the scallops. But they were in there, even if the photo suggests I’m lieing.
When I’ve calmed down I’ll give this another bash using a much smaller cauli (500-700g only). But if this was a ‘first date’ I’m not sure Ann-Marie would have been inclined to grant me a second one ha ha!
Recipe: Creamy Scallops with Bacon
Calories: 313 per serving
Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Comfort Food
Prep time: Approx 10 mins
Cooking time: Approx 20 mins
- 1 litre water
- ½ chicken stock cube
- 1 small cauliflower (about 700g), cut into small florets
- 200g large roeless scallops (thawed if frozen)
- 3 rashers (about 95g) smoked back bacon
- Oil for spraying or brushing
- 3 tbsp double cream
- Flaked sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Fresh finely chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)
Cost per portion: Approx £5.12 (this is based on using frozen scallops from a supermarket, fresh ones from a fishmonger will cost more)
Pour the water into a medium saucepan, add the stock cube and cauliflower florets and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is very tender. Drain the cauliflower in a colander, reserving the liquid, then tip the cauliflower back into the pan.
Use a stick blender to blitz the cauliflower into a puree, adding a little of the reserved stock to help blend it. Alternatively, place the cauliflower into a food processor and leave to cool for 5 minutes before blending. Add 150-200ml of the stock and blend again until as smooth as possible and is the consistency of double cream. Set aside.
Pat the scallops dry on kitchen paper. Trim all visible fat off the bacon and cut into 1.5cm strips. Spray or brush a non-stick frying pan with oil and place over a medium-high heat. Fry the bacon for 2 minutes or until lightly browned; transfer to a plate.
Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Place them in the hot pan and cook for 1-1 ½ minutes on each side or until well browned and just cooked through. Put the scallops on the same plate as the bacon.
Return the pan to the heat, add the cauliflower sauce and double cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper and return the bacon and scallops to the pan. Warm through for a few seconds then sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve.