Pan-seared scallops with golden almonds and creamy cauliflower

Pan-seared scallops make an elegant meal for either treating yourself or making a simple meal for date night.

Restless Palate
Pan-seared scallops are topped with golden almonds and served on a bed of creamy cauliflower.

I love date night. Sometimes date night is just me, myself and I. It’s a chance to kick back and relax by myself with an easy meal. Other times it falls into the more traditional category (aka dinner with another human being).

I try to treat myself at least once a week to a beautiful meal that isn’t rushed or stressful – when you remember to put on some music and light a candle or two and eat with a proper napkin. Some weeks are better then others, and then there are weeks like this one, where I get to Friday in a whirlwind and wonder where the week went.

On days like these, I am thankful for easy "date night" meals (perfect for alone or together nights). This is one of those. It comes together in 20 minutes. This leaves rest of the night to simply be.  Whether that’s kicking up your feet a grabbing a good book or a night when you fall into the arms of someone you care about. A night when you can just BE together. No expectations. No schedule. No big kitchen clean up. Just the lightness of simply being....

Scallops with Golden Almonds

6 large scallops or enough for 2 people
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh

1. In a frying pan, melt butter with olive oil. Pat the scallops dry using a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with paprika. I use a sweet paprika, but use what you like best. A good quality Spanish or Hungarian Paprika is a world apart from the stuff in the bulk bins!

2. Once the butter mixture is very hot, add the scallops. Cook for 2 minutes per side (if scallops are 1 inch across, less if they are smaller, more if they are larger) until browned on both sides but not quite cooked through.

3. Place the scallops on a bed of creamed cauliflower (see receipe below). Add the almonds to the pan and cook until the almonds are brown. Add the lemon juice and stir until combined. Top the scallops with the almond butter sauce.

Creamy Cauliflower

6 cups cauliflower florets or 1 large head of cauliflower
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until just starting to turn golden. Strain the cauliflower and return to the pot.

2. Add onions, salt, and nutmeg to the cauliflower mixture. Using an emulsion blender, purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. A food processor or blender will also work.

3. Place 1-1/2 cups of cauliflower puree into a wide low rimmed bowl or plate. Top with scallops and browned almonds.

Related post on The Restless Palate: Individual Pear and Hazelnut Tart with Lemon Goat Cheese Cream

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