Seared Scallops, Cauliflower Cream & Crispy Pancetta

Seared Scallops, Cauliflower Cream & Crispy Pancetta Photo: Tim Elwin 2015

Seared Scallops, Cauliflower Cream & Crispy Pancetta
Photo: Tim Elwin 2015

Unfortunately there's no cheats method for this recipe but it's pretty simple and definitely worth it!

Feed 4 - entree


  • 15-20 whole small scallops or 8-10 large scallops (large ones cut in half through the side), roe removed
  • 900g-1kg of cauliflower (stem and Floret), sliced 2-3mm thick
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled & cut 2-3mm cubes 
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup full cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg ( a touch less if grating fresh)
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 6-8pcs Flat Pancetta, sliced 1-2mm thick
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Baby Watercress or similar


Add the cauliflower, onion, milk & nutmeg to a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until you can push a fork through the cauliflower then stain 90% of the milk.

Transfer the cooked cauliflower & onions to a blender, add the cream and a good pinch of sea salt. Blend until velvety silky smooth, then set aside.

Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, pan-fry the thin pieces of pancetta until golden brown then transfer onto paper towelling to seek up any excess fat.

Heat a medium sized non stick pan on a high heat. Ensure the scallops are dry with a kitchen cloth/Chux etc.(this will ensure they caramelise better), then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

PLEASE NOTE: It is important to not overcook scallops as they easily become tough so place each scallop. So a high heat is essential and don’t overcrowd the pan (otherwise they will steam instead of fry) so best to do in 2 batches. 

Place the scallops into the pan and do not move them for 30-40 seconds. It is important not to move them otherwise a crust/caramelisation won't form properly.

After 30-40 seconds check the first one you put in to check if it has caramelised. If not, leave for another 15-20 second max otherwise flip them all and cook for 30-40 seconds, no longer.  Remove the scallops from the pan and let rest for a minute or two. 

Whilst the scallops are resting give the pan a little wipe then add the cauliflower cream and place on the heat for 30 seconds to warm through. 

Add the scallops on top of the cauliflower cream, scatter the pancetta and the watercress over the top then sprinkle with sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

© Tim Elwin 2015