Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Shellfish with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Olives

This is a really tasty main dish that I made awhile ago and have had on my list of "blogs to write" ever since. It does that sweet and sour thing I like so much--think about eggplant caponata, the relish made with vinegar and raisins. Like caponata, this dish also has olives, which provide the saltiness that makes the sweet-sour combo really work.

I came up with this because we had half a bag of scallops and half a bag of shrimp in the freezer taking up valuable space. You could just as easily make this with all shrimp or all scallops. It's an awfully nice "in-between" dinner too. It's warm and satisfying, yet not heavy, with vibrant flavors that embody neither summer nor winter. Cauliflower is always somewhere to be found in the produce department and becomes addictive and yummy when roasted. Just do the roasted cauliflower portion of the recipe (add some curry powder along with the chili powder, if you have it), and you'll have an incredibly tasty side dish.

I've been cooking a lot of new things recently, but none are quite ready for the blog. I'm after the superlative lemon bar, which for me is at least 2 parts lemon layer to 1 part shortbread layer. I like the lemon to be a little bit jelly-like, not too creamy or starchy due to too much flour. I have a crust I like, but it's the lemon part that's tricky. If you have any ideas or recipes, send them my way.

Shellfish with Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Olives

This is delicious served over garlicky brown rice: In the saucepan that you cook your rice in, saute 2 to 3 cloves minced garlic and 3 or 4 thinly sliced scallions in olive oil and butter; add chicken broth and bring to a boil; add rice, salt and pepper and cook as usual.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 to 1 1/4 pounds total large, shelled shrimp and sea scallops
1 medium red onion, chopped
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
16 kalamata olives, chopped
1 generous tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray; arrange cauliflower on baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle cauliflower with salt, pepper and chili powder and toss well to coat; roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Transfer to a large, shallow serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook shellfish until opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes per side (shrimp may cook faster than scallops); season with salt and pepper. Add shellfish to dish with cauliflower.

Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and light golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add chicken broth, olives, capers and raisins; simmer until slightly thickened and reduced by a little over half. Add vinegar, stir to combine and add to dish with the cauliflower and shellfish. Toss gently, sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Peabody said...

I love picadillo that has the raisins and the olives so I really want to give this a try.

Kristen said...

This sounds soooo different and really tasty! I love these flavors.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I make a cauliflower salad with olives and raisins, but I never thought to pair it with seafood. Thanks for the idea, Julie. It's an easy yet elegant dinner (and I will never say no to more of those).

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie! I just made the shellfish with roasted cauliflower, raisins and olives. It was absolutely delightful! What a surprising and wonderful combination of flavors! :) --Maryelle

Julie said...

Peabody: Yes, Picadillo is another perfect of example of that flavor profile...I've never made it myself.
Kristen: thanks!
Susan: Yeah, it seems a little weird, but scallops and shrimp are really sturdy and kind of neutral in their own way. It totally works!
Maryelle: Hi! Thanks for commenting--I'm so glad this turned out for you!