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Seared Scallop Tacos with Roasted Cauliflower, Fried Capers and Raisin Purée

Recipe courtesy of Alex Stupak, chef/owner at Empellón, New York City
Number of Servings
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces raisins
½ cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
8 cups canola oil
½ cup capers
12 medium scallops
Salt, to taste
6 corn tortillas
To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 300°F. Cut the head of the cauliflower into two pieces and reserve half for another purpose. Take the remaining half and cut out the stem and core. Cut the cauliflower into rough 1-inch chunks. Place the cauliflower chunks in a food processor and chop into small pieces. Place the chopped cauliflower in a bowl along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix until evenly coated. Season with salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes. Reserve the cauliflower in a container at room temperature.

Place the raisins in a bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour over the raisins. Allow the raisins to soak for 20 minutes, then transfer the raisins and their soaking liquid to a blender along with the lime juice and purée until smooth. Hold the purée in a container at room temperature until needed.

For the fried capers, preheat the canola oil in a fryer or pot to 350°F. Drain the capers of their brine and dry on paper towels. Place the capers in a small strainer with a handle, then plunge into the hot oil. Fry the capers until crisp (10–15 seconds). Turn the capers out onto a plate lined with paper towels. Hold the capers at room temperature until needed.

For the scallops, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and pour a light film of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) in the pan. Season the scallops with salt and sear them on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops over and sear for another 2 minutes. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a plate.

To assemble, lay out six plates and place a warm tortilla on each. Place a spoonful of the roasted cauliflower on each tortilla and place two scallops on top of the cauliflower. Drizzle some raisin purée on each taco and sprinkle with the fried capers. Serve immediately.

Wine Recommendation

With this taco’s mix of sweet and salty flavors, there’s no better match than the Galician white wine, Albariño. The 2010 vintage of As Laxas is the best bottling to date from this winery. Condes de Albarei from the same year also is excellent.
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