Chefs at Home: Seared Scallops with Miso-Roasted Cauliflower & Warm Walnut Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Recipes and photos by Chef Marc Sheehan of Loyal Nine in Cambridge

This dish has many layers of flavor and texture - and many steps! Break it up by making the marinade and the first part of the vinaigrette the day before you plan to serve this lovely special-occasion dish.

Serves 2  

For the miso roasted cauliflower: 

2 tablespoons dark miso 

1 tablespoon maple syrup 

1 tablespoon fish sauce 

1 tablespoon chili oil  

8 cauliflower florets 

Kosher salt, to taste 

2 tablespoons butter 

2 sprigs thyme 

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed 

 

For the vinaigrette: 

1/2 cup white wine or hard cider 

1/4 cup cider vinegar 

1 shallot, roughly chopped  

1 apple core, roughly chopped 

½ -inch piece of ginger, chopped 

Handful of thyme stems 

1 teaspoon chili flakes 

2 to 3 teaspoons scraps from the cauliflower trim 

4 tablespoons water 

Reserved scallop muscles 

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped 

1 tablespoon toasted chopped walnut 

1 tablespoon chopped parsley 

Squeeze lemon juice

 

For the scallops: 

4 scallops, side muscles removed and reserved 

4 tablespoons butter 

4 sprigs thyme 

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed 

Kosher salt, to taste 

 

To finish:

4-5 pieces of cauliflower florets, shaved on a mandoline 

1 cauliflower stem, peeled to remove tough outer layer and sliced into coins on a mandoline 

½ an apple, sliced into half moons on a mandoline 

1 teaspoon lemon zest 

2 walnut pieces, grated with a microplane 

Flaky sea salt  

 

GET STARTED:  

For the cauliflower:  

Combine the miso, maple syrup, fish sauce and chili oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and adjust seasoning to taste. Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 1-3 hours. Reserve the marinade bowl.  

For the scallops:  

Lay both scallops on their side on a cutting board and with a sharp knife, butterfly open the scallops into long continuous strips. Lay on a piece of parchment or a paper towel to dry. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

For the vinaigrette:  

While the cauliflower marinates, place wine or cider, vinegar, shallot, apple core, thyme stems, ginger, and cauliflower trim in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and reduce the liquid by 1/2. Add in the scallop muscles and the water and reduce the heat to low. Let infuse for 10-15 minutes on very low heat. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid. 

 

NEXT STEPS:  

For the cauliflower:  

Set the oven to 250°F. Heat a medium oven-proof saucepan or cast iron over medium high heat. Add in enough canola or grapeseed oil to just coat the base. Add in the cauliflower and sear on all sides. A little char is good, but don't let it or the base of the pan burn.  

Add in the butter, thyme and garlic and let the butter foam. Baste the cauliflower with the foamy butter until just cooked. Place pan in the oven to keep warm.  

Discard the thyme and garlic. Pour the basting butter into the miso coated bowl you used for the cauliflower and keep warm on the back of the stove.  

 

For the scallops:  

Just before cooking, pat the interior of the scallop dry with paper towel again and season both sides with salt.  

Heat a medium saute pan or cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add just enough canola or grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil just begins to shimmer, add in the scallops and sear, cut side down, making sure they aren't sticking, until golden brown.  

Without flipping, add in the butter, thyme and the garlic clove and let the butter foam and brown but not burn. Baste the scallop with the foamy butter until just barely cooked. Flip the scallop over in the pan and baste for 10 more seconds. Keep warm on the back of the stove. Turn the heat down to low. Discard the thyme sprig and garlic clove. 

 

For the vinaigrette:  

Add the shallots, capers, and walnuts to the pan you used for the scallops. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until the shallots are just cooked, about 30 seconds.  

Add in the reserved vinaigrette reduction and the reserved butter/miso mixture. Stir to bring everything together. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Add the parsley and remove from the heat. A squeeze of lemon might be a good idea.

For the cauliflower-apple garnish: 

In a bowl, combine the roasted cauliflower, shaved cauliflower, apple, and cauliflower stem. Dress with a little lemon juice and olive oil. 

 

To finish:  

Divide the seared scallops between two plates. Place a mound of the salad spaced about an inch from your scallop on a plate.  

Dress the scallop, the salad, and the plate with the warm vinaigrette. Dust the dish with the lemon zest and the grated walnut. Season the scallop with a few flakes of sea salt. 

Recipes and photos by Chef Marc Sheehan of Loyal Nine in Cambridge.

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