It’s finally warm enough for al fresco dining! One of the things I miss most during winter (and there aren’t many things) is eating outside in the sun. There’s something so decadent about it—so leisurely. Even the name, “al fresco” sound glamorous. It remind me of a scorching hot day spent walking all over the ancient streets of Rome before enjoying the most delicious meal (along with peach bellini) in a grand piazza.
The food I have been preparing is a little more suitable to slower, warmer days. Scallops are really easy and quick to make and cauliflower mash is the lighter, more elegant sister to mashed potatoes (tastier too, if you ask me). Served with some warm buttered rolls and white wine litchi spritzers, this is the perfect weekend meal; an ode to lazy Sunday afternoons in the sun. And while my backyard can’t really compare to a piazza in Rome, there is still a charm to enjoying a meal out there while the birds chirp away merrily.
Spring brings so many delights along with it.
This recipe serves 2.
300 grams of scallops
1 head of cauliflower (400 grams of cauliflower florets)
½ cup white wine
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
40 grams of butter + 1 extra knob, separated
Micro greens to serve
White wine litchi spritzer:
A bottle of crisp white wine, chilled
A bottle of sparkling water, chilled
1 can of tinned litchis (400 grams)
Rosemary sprigs to garnish
How to make it:
To make the cauliflower mash, steam the cauliflower until it is fully cooked (very soft), then purée it with a blender/food processor. Mix in the knob of butter, along with some salt and pepper to taste. If it is still too thick, add a teaspoon of olive oil to loosen it.
Next, it’s time to make the sauce: In a saucepan, melt the 40 grams of butter and add about a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning too quickly. Add the white wine and allow to simmer and reduce for about 4 minutes. Next, add the chopped parsley and stir.
Season the scallops with salt and cracked black pepper.
Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan at a medium- high heat and place the scallops in the pan. Be sure not to crowd them. Cook then for about two minutes in each side. Remove from the pan. And set aside.
To plate, place the micro greens on a plate and position the scallops on top of them. Spoon the sauce over the scallops and scoop a portion of the cauliflower mash next to the greens and scallops.
For the white wine litchi spritzer:
Place a couple of litchis at the bottom of the wine glass along with 2 tablespoons of the litchi syrup. Pour in white whine until the glass is about half full. Then top with a sparkling water, remembering not to fill the glass till the brim as you don’t want to spill. Garnish with the rosemary. It’s not a science, you can totally eye ball it. My favourite thing is eating the litchis at the end after they’ve soaked up some of the wine.