July 28, 2016

Cider-Glazed Seared Scallops With Cauliflower Purée

Recipe: Floyd Cardoz

Floyd Cardoz, Bravo’s Top Chef Season 3 winner, shares a recipe for Cider-Glazed Scallops from his new cookbook Flavorwalla.

This is a delicious marriage of the sweetness of seared sea scallops, the mild bitterness of pureed cauliflower, and the acidity of a cider glaze. When we served it at North End Grill, a New York Times writer who did a feature on me loved it so much that I gave her the recipe to run in the paper.

I like this dish because its preparation can be timed to match the game’s rhythm. I prepare the puree and glaze before the game begins, then quickly sear the scallops during halftime and plate it all up in time for the second half.

The puree is an excellent way to use up the stems of cauliflower that ordinarily go to waste. Use the stems left from cauliflower florets you’ve used another way, or use a whole cauliflower and roast the florets to serve with this dish; they add nice texture to the plate.

Use two pans when cooking the scallops to avoid crowding them. Or, if you have a built-in griddle on your stovetop, use it.


For the Glaze

  • 3 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • One ½-inch piece pasilla de Oaxaca or dried chipotle chile
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Cauliflower Purée

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sliced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 cups cauliflower stems
  • 1½ cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock, or high-quality store-bought stock
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or chile flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Scallops

  • 20 large sea scallops (1½ pounds), tough side muscle removed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil


Yield: Serves 4

  1. To prepare the glaze, in a wide pan such as a chicken fryer or shallow Dutch oven, combine the apple cider, shallot, ginger, chile, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced to about ½ cup, about 15 minutes (this will take longer in a smaller pan). Remove from the heat and discard the chile. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the purée: Place a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and cumin seeds, and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the shallots and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the Aleppo pepper and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer the cauliflower, with the liquid, to a blender and blend, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Transfer the purée to a dish and keep warm in a very low oven or warming drawer.
  4. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Heat two skillets over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. While the pans are heating, season the scallops with salt and black pepper. Turn off the heat and add 3 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet; the oil should start smoking when it hits the pans. Divide the scallops between the pans and turn the heat back on to high (if the oil is smoking excessively, wait a few seconds before turning on the heat). Cook the scallops until well seared on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Divide the scallops and puree among four warmed plates. Drizzle with the glaze and serve.

Lauren Volo


Excerpted from Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2016. Photographs by Lauren Volo. Used with permission of the publisher.