Sautéd Scallops with Califlower & Star Anise Purée & Crispy Parma Ham

scallops plated

Sorry – I cant make the title smaller! This has to be one of the tastiest ways to eat fresh scallops. Again, thanks to Ronan’s Fish Shop, we are lucky to have a pretty much constant supply of the plumpest fattest juiciest scallops this side of the Atlantic. Just look at them…

fresh scallopsThe Cauliflower puree, infused with the almost liquorice flavour of Star Anise compliments the scallops but its the crispy pan fried Parma Ham ‘bits’ that bring the whole thing together. (I have sometimes used grated nutmeg instead of the star anise, which is also lovely but I think the star anise goes perfectly). This is easy, and can be prepared about 10 minutes from when you want to eat. We often have it Saturday nights before a big juicy steak, and pretend (Ok – I probably pretend) we have gone out to a fancy French Restaurant, instead of actually sitting at the island in the kitchen, gently cajoling our 14 year old son to turn down Match of the Day.

eating scallops(this serves two)


3 Scallops per person

Half small head of Califlower

Star Anise

Clove or two of Garlic

4 ml milk

Knob of butter

1 slice of Parma Ham per person

Califlower & Star anise


  • Break apart the Cauliflower stalks and poach gently in a saucepan with the milk, butter, star anise & garlic until the Cauliflower is tender. If all the milk evaporated, add a slosh more (If shouldn’t if you poach on very low heat).

califlower in saucepan

  • When the cauliflower is tender, blitz to a puree with a hand held blender.


  • Set to one side – I usually cover with cling film and have it ready to reheat slightly in the microwave just before the scallops are served.
  • Meanwhile, crisp up the Parma Ham slices in a dry pan. Cook on both sides, remove and chop up.

fry parmachopped parma

  • Finally, fry the scallops, 2 minutes on each side on a hot pan. Fry in the same pan you’ve just used for the Ham. (I leave the corals on, but pierce them when I place them in the pan – I once had an exploding Coral situation which wasn’t good)

scallops in panscallops browned

  • Finally, plate up! Dollop of hot Cauliflower Purée for each scallop, scallop on top and all sprinkled with the crispy ham (I used to reheat this but its actually fine whatever temperature it is at that stage). Enjoy!

scallops platedclose up


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