We love to eat out and LA provides no shortage of delicious options. However, it's also nice to stay in and make a tasty gourmet meal every once and a while. We decided to treat Dr. S and Mr. J to a nice home-cooked dinner for their support and encouragement for the blog. We started with a cauliflower soup with seared scallop and caviar, moved on to a walnut-crusted baked sea bass with a zucchini and arugula salad, and finished off with a lemon budino. Today's post features the cauliflower soup...stay tuned for the other recipes!
The original recipe asks for an American sturgeon caviar. Caviars come in a variety of price points and can be very expensive. The role of the caviar in this dish is to deliver a kick of saltiness and to provide some texture to offset the smooth creamy soup. Since we are not caviar experts, we simply purchased a jar of black caviar from Bristol Farms and to our unrefined palates, it tasted just fine!
Cauliflower Soup with Seared Scallop and Caviar
(adapted from this recipe. We skipped the lemon-infused grapeseed oil)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 3 3/4 cups (1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces cauliflower (from 1 large head)
- 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- Coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 leek (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
- 6 sea scallops, patted dry
- 1 jar caviar (about 1 ounce)
- Finely chopped fresh chives
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer gently until cauliflower is tender, about 18 minutes.
Puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth. Return to same saucepan. Season soup with kosher salt and white pepper. If making this ahead, allow soup to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill. Reheat prior to serving.
Blanch leek in small saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute then drain. Place some of leek in center of each bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Sear until brown and just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Place 1 scallop on leek in each bowl. Ladle soup around scallop, top with caviar, and sprinkle with chives.