Surf & Turf with Creamy, Buttery Cauliflower Puree


Grilled NY Strip Steak  |  Pan Seared Sea Scallops  |  Creamy, Buttery Cauliflower Pureé  |  Gremolata

Intro Collage

 This dinner is certainly not standard Friday fare for us.  Prime steak…lusciously large sea scallops…those two items alone could land your grocery bill into dangerous, unwanted territory.  But, after a long week of traveling in both Shanghai and Beijing…

Shanghai Collage

Michael arrived home this morning and this dinner was our way of celebrating.  A special dinner that does not require hours of preparation.  In fact, the two elegant sauces featured in this dish come together fairly quickly and they both can be made in advance.

The seared, golden scallops make their dinner appearance floating on a silky, smooth cauliflower purée laced with butter and cream.  The purée itself, although quite simple, lends an incredible amount of rich flavor to the plate with a minimal amount of effort and it serves as a virtual blank canvas for other dishes…adding a kiss of truffle oil when served alongside roasted chicken or beef or, with a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg, it can serve as a flour less white sauce {think béchamel} for say, a lasagna or savory crépes.  For our dinner tonight, I kept the purée basic, counting on it to complement the scallops with the flavor of butter while the gremolata, which topped the scallops, added the brightness of lemon.

Cauliflower Puree Collage

Buttery Cauliflower Puree
Serves 8
A lusciously smooth white sauce
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower {about 2 lbs.}, cored and separated into 2-inch florets
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. Salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower florets until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well. Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes, to dry it out.
  2. In a microwave~safe glass bowl, combine the heavy cream with the butter and heat in the microwave just until the butter is melted {about 1 minute}.
  3. Puree the cauliflower in a blender with half of the warm cream mixture. Check the consistency* and gradually add more of the warm cream mixture, and blend, until the desired consistency has been achieved.
  4. Transfer the puree to a medium microwave~safe bowl. Season with salt. Just before serving, reheat the puree in the microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring occasionally.
  1. * For use as a sauce, you will use most {if not all} of the warm cream mixture. For a thicker, stand alone side, add less of the cream mixture.
  2. The cauliflower puree can be refrigerated overnight and reheated in a microwave; stir occasionally.
Adapted from Food & Wine
Adapted from Food & Wine

Click here for the gremolata recipe, which comes together in minutes and is best when made in advance.

 Finally, the stars of the show…NY strip steak and sea scallops…require little more than some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, some olive oil, a touch of butter and a quick go around in a very hot cast iron skillet.  For this dinner, I  serve half of a steak, sliced, with two sea scallops per person.


Thirty minutes prior to cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and gently wash {and thoroughly dry} the scallops.  If your market has not already done so, remove the small side muscle from the scallops.  Pat the steaks dry and season generously with some sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F and place a large cast iron skillet over high heat and then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan.  Heat until the fat begins to smoke.  Carefully add the seasoned steaks and do not touch for 1-2 minutes.  Flip the steaks {they should be well browned on the first side} over and sear the other side for another 1-2 minutes and then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 5-10 minutes {depending on thickness} or until desired doneness is achieved.  Remove steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the steaks rest, wipe the skillet clean and return to the stove, heating once again over a high flame.  Add a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter and, as before, when the fat begins to smoke, carefully add the scallops.  Cook the scallops 1-2 minutes per side {depending on thickness}…they should have a lovely golden color.  Remove the skillet from the heat and serve the scallops immediately with slices of steak, the cauliflower purée and some of the gremolata.



K Medium

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