Scallops, Chorizo and a Mashed Potato Imposter!
We’re so sorry for the delay in getting this recipe out — we were hit by mega technical difficulties that left us kind of stranded! But we’re now back and hungrier than ever having worked up an appetite whilst crying over a non-functioning/possessed laptop!
If you’re sort of lazy in the kitchen and prefer no-hassle cooking, then this recipe is for you. It’s fast, delicious, easy on the waist-line and would suit people following paleo/primal type diets, those watching their carb intake or GI/GL loads, diabetics and celiacs/coeliacs as you can now buy gluten-free chorizo online and in some stores if you need to.
This is a dish of succulent scallops, cooked with diced chorizo and served on a bed of cauliflower puree/mash — a great low carb/low cal alternative to mashed potatoes — it has comfort factor but can be eaten without a guilty conscience. The GI/GL load of cauliflower is low which means that, unlike white potato, it won’t spike your blood sugars.
This recipe is pretty healthy but the chorizo is naughty as it is a processed form of meat, tends to have additives in it and is high in salt/fat (we’re really selling it to you, right?!) It still tastes good but what we’re saying is that chorizo isn’t an ingredient to have regularly in the week and it won’t be right if you need to be careful with your salt/sodium intake. So just use your common sense.
This is an elegant starter for a formal meal but is perfect as a main for lunch/dinner too. You will feel full from the scallop protein and cauliflower fibre but not super tired the way you get after a big plate of mashed potatoes… don’t misunderstand us, we LOVE mashed potatoes… but, in the run up to summer, our skinny jeans are telling us to lay off them for a while 😦
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What You Need:
- Scallops – fresh, not frozen. We used the smaller “queen” scallops as they are more budget friendly! However, “king” scallops are a delicious treat. The quantity will depend on which size you use, how many people you are serving and whether you are having this as a starter or main meal. Work out a number per person that makes sense.
- 75g Diced Chorizo (for 2 people) – we like ours spicy but go for a milder variety if you prefer. You can buy chorizo ready diced but it doesn’t take long to do yourself.
- 450g Fresh or frozen Cauliflower florets (that’s just a fancy word for “pieces”) – this will be a decent serving for two people.
- 1/2 a medium sized Onion , diced
- 1 clove of Garlic , peeled — use more garlic if you like it or are afraid of Vampires or leave it out entirely if you don’t like the taste of it and are Vampire-protected already.
- A tablespoon of thick, natural Yoghurt (preferably organic) – Greek/Greek Style works well. You can buy Fat Free/ 0% or 2% Fat varieties — choose the one you are most comfortable with.
- Good quality Salt and Pepper.
- The juice of half a Lemon .
- Optional – Butter, the zest of half a lemon, fresh Parsley (ideally flat leaf)
How to Make It:
You can prepare your cauliflower mash ahead of time but it doesn’t take long to cook , so it is possible to do it all at the same time if you are organised. Once you have made the “mash” a couple of times, you will work out what quantities of it you like to eat and whether you like it to be a smooth puree or a bit more coarse in texture. It’s a totally personal thing.
For the “Mash”:
Fill a pan with water and add the garlic cloves (if using.) Add a little good salt to season the water. Bring to the boil and add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender enough for a knife to go through easily. Strain off the water and leave the garlic in. Using either a hand-blender or a large fork/masher, get to work on the the cauliflower until it is as smooth as you like. Make sure you have evenly distributed the garlic while you have been mashing.
The mash won’t be a really stiff, thick texture like potatoes but it shouldn’t be wet and runny either if you have strained the water out properly first. At this stage, feel free to add a generous dollop of thick, natural yoghurt to give the mash a sense of creaminess and to make the consistency even smoother. For butter lovers out there, this is the time to dollop it in, but honestly, we don’t think it is necessary and we’d rather save on the additional fat/calories.
If, like Priya, you are addicted to the taste of Lemon… a grating of lemon rind into the mash at this stage will make it sing with zing! Taste and season lightly with pepper and a little salt if needed. Remember, the chorizo is high in salt and will essentially season the whole dish so keep additional salt to a minimum.
For the Chorizo:
Put a frying pan onto a medium heat and throw in the diced chorizo… because chorizo has so much fat in it already you do not need to add any oil to the pan. As the chorizo heats up, the fat in it will melt and produce enough oil for the chorizo to fry. Fry for about 5 minutes on a medium heat. Once the chorizo has become a little crisp, remove the diced pieces with a spoon, leaving the oil in the pan. You can place the chorizo pieces on some kitchen paper to strain off some of the oil if you would like.
For the Scallops:
Turn the heat up under the frying pan to between medium and high. The pan should still have the chorizo oil in it. Usually, before cooking scallops, you would season them whilst raw and then put them in the pan. Feel free to season with pepper if you like but do not season with salt — the chorizo provides enough seasoning.
Place the scallops carefully into the pan, one by one. You should hear them sizzle as they touch the surface. Put the first one in at what would be the “12 o’clock” position on a clock-face and then work your way round from that – so the 2nd one goes in at “1 o’clock” etc. This means that you will remember which one went in first so that you can turn them over in order so that they all get the right amount of cooking time.
Once they are in, resist the urge to jiggle/shake the pan about or push the scallops around. Just let them stay exactly as they are. If you are using the large, King scallops, they will be ready for turning after 1 minute and you will be able to see that they have coloured slightly (the chorizo oil will be a reddish/brown kind of colour… but you will still be able to see the change of colour on the scallop through that.)
The second side of the scallop will need just another 30 seconds and then, honestly, they will be cooked. If you are using the smaller, queen scallops — they will just take a minute in total to cook — so you can give them 30 seconds each side or slightly longer on one side to get a deeper colour. Totally up to you — don’t be scared to use your cooking instinct!
In the final 10 seconds, add in a generous squeeze of lemon juice and swirl it into the scallops and chorizo oil to make an in-pan sauce.
A nice generous portion of cauliflower mash on a plate and then arrange the scallops on top and scatter over the chorizo pieces. Using the oil/lemon mixture from the pan, spoon over the scallops so that it provides a warm dressing. Feel free to scatter on some chopped, washed parsley if you fancy a final flourish of va va voom! Wash down with water or wine and enjoy! 🙂
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