Scallops and Creamy Cauliflower Puree, A Perfect Match. Easy, too.

Chefs, Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants, Videos By Apr 20, 2011

Does this photo make you drool?  Ah, me too.

As Executive Chef at Pelican Hill, Jean-Pierre Dubray overseas the Newport Beach resort’s Andrea at Pelican Hill, as well as the Coliseum Pool and Grill, Pelican Grill at Pelican Golf Club, plus room service for 128 villas and 204 bungalows. Not to forget pastry and bakery operations, and of course, catering and special event services.

Dubray brings with him a prestigious culinary history, which includes being the acclaimed executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, where he often cooked for Julia Child when she visited the Bay Area to dine with her sister.

At home in Laguna Niguel, he often prepares pan-seared Day Boat scallops teamed with vegetable puree for his wife and three children: three-year old twins Sophie and Gaby, and nine-year old Luc.

The pureed cauliflower that forms a bed under the browned scallops would be hard to beat for its rich delectability. But Dubray says that sweet potatoes or parsnips are delicious too, as are green peas or corn.

He says that a squeeze of basil oil is a delectable accompaniment. He makes the optional flavored oil by infusing grapeseed oil with fresh basil for 24 hours. He purees it and strains it through cheesecloth. The herbaceous green droplets can be added as a final garnish on the rim of the plate.

Sautéed Scallops with Irvine Ranch Cauliflower Two Ways and Chicken Jus
Yield: 4 servings
1 head white cauliflower
Salt for cooking water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
8 large Day Boat scallops, soaked in salted water
Salt and ground cayenne pepper to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup reduced chicken jus, warmed in saucepan, see cook’s notes
Garnish: sprigs of fresh chervil or popcorn sprouts or Italian parsley or small basil leaves or assorted microgreens
Cook’s notes: Dubray uses house-made chicken jus, but says that store-bought chicken broth or chicken stock can be substituted. It will need to be boiled to reduce by about two-thirds. It won’t have the same deep-brown color.

He uses Day Boat scallops (large sea scallops) because he says they aren’t processed with chemicals. They are firm with a very fresh taste and aren’t watery


1. Core cauliflower and cut into medium-small florets. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch florets until just barely tender; drain well. Set about 1/4 of florets aside, selecting the best looking ones. In a food processor, puree the remaining florets with heavy cream, salt, and white pepper. Return cauliflower mixture to pot and bring to simmer on medium-high heat; reduce heat to low.

2. Melt butter in small skillet on medium-high heat. Add reserved florets and cook until golden brown, gently turning as needed. Set aside.

3. Remove scallops from salted water and pat dry. Be sure to remove abductor muscle from the side of each scallop (if present). Season dry scallops with salt and a little cayenne pepper. Be very careful not to over season with cayenne.

4. Heat canola oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add scallops in single layer and cook until golden brown on exterior and just barely cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook.

5. On 4 serving plates, place cauliflower puree in the center. Place scallops and browned florettes on top. Spoon warm chicken jus around edge of cauliflower puree and garnish with chervil sprigs. Serve.

Source: Jean-Pierre Dubray, Executive Chef Pelican Hill, Newport Beach

Pelican Hill invites food enthusiasts and aspiring cooks to spend a Sunday exploring the flavors of spring, as one of the Resort’s chefs leads a hands-on course paired with wines.  The Culinary Academy takes place Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Villa kitchen. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 800-820-6800. ($175 per person with wine pairings; pricing excludes tax and gratuity)


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