Spiced scallops and creamed cauliflower

Serves 4 as a starter

Cauliflower purée makes a great accompaniment to fish, meat, poultry and offal; it does the job of a sauce without all that heaviness and richness. Depending on what you are going to serve it with, you could also jazz it up with some cheese or mellow herbs such as chervil, parsley or chives. By roasting the cauliflower first, then blending it, you end up with a completely different flavour so give it a try.

Half a head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into even-sized pieces
100g butter
12 medium-sized scallops, cut from the shell and cleaned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tsp chilli flakes
A little olive oil to serve

Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water for about 10-12 minutes until it is soft enough to purée. Blend in a food processor or liquidiser until smooth, then transfer to a pan and stir in half of the butter and season to taste.

Season the scallops with salt and the chilli flakes, heat the rest of the butter in a heavy frying pan until foaming, then cook the scallops for a minute on each side, lightly colouring them. To serve, reheat the cauliflower purée and spoon on to warmed serving plates. Arrange the scallops on top, then drizzle a little olive oil around.

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