Although the weather hasn’t been spectacular the last few weeks, we do have some pretty good weekends! And by good I mean: no rain. Whenever it’s not too cold and rainy I like to get out and do a bit of Sunday walking, just to get some fresh air and to discover new places. Last weekend we headed down to Mount Hillary near Mallow, but this weekend we decided to venture out to Kinsale beach, just outside of the town. We had never been there before but I have always really liked Kinsale, as it’s the gourmet capital of Ireland and there’s plenty to see and do! My absolute favourite spot is Charles Fort, which is not only very well maintained but it also gives you a stunning view of both Kinsale town and the sea.
After our walk along the beach and up through the green hills surrounding it, we went for a stroll through the town where we were met by the glorious scents of delicious foods in every street we walked into. Apart from getting hungry, it also gave me an idea for a new appetizer, with nothing but Irish seasonal ingredients. I got myself some Irish scallops, which are in fished mostly in Winter and Spring, although some species can be landed all year round and others are only to be caught from September until February.
Scallops are a good source of protein and low in saturated fat and calories. They are also a very good source of vitamin B12. In addition, scallops are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and potassium.
Scallop fishing is a deep-rooted tradition, which in Ireland extends back to at least the 16th century (Mason, 1983). Wild scallops are commercially fished in numerous locations in Ireland and are landed into more than 40 ports around the coast. Stocks along the west and south coasts are small and discrete. Off the southeast coast, however, and in the Irish Sea scallops are widely distributed and abundant in both inshore and offshore waters. When buying scallops (or other fresh fish) please make sure to buy local, to avoid supporting the supertrawler business.
I paired it up with some gluten-free Clonakilty black pudding as I’ll be posting a lot more ‘free from’ recipes and posts in the future, starting with my book tip of the month February. You can of course use normal black pudding and normal cream instead of Alpro Soy.
It’s not the first time I combined black pudding with scallops, they are really such a great match! This time I chose to really well-season my scallops as well, by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, Irish sea salt and pepper on each one, to give them a real kick. You’ll still be able to taste that lovely scallop flavour of course.
As a final piece of the puzzle I made some cauliflower cream, again a very seasonal/Winter ingredient and it goes really well with pudding and scallops. I kept it very basic, as I usually do with most cauliflower recipes I have. Cauliflower is such a good and basic veg, but with loads of health benefits. Livestrong.com: “This nonstarchy vegetable is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage and broccoli. High intake of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of some cancers. They contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, or plant nutrients, that may help neutralize damaging toxins.”
Makes: 10 appetizers
- 1/6 of a large cauliflower
- 10 thick slices of Clonakilty gluten – free black pudding
- 10 Irish scallops
- 200ml Alpro soy cream
- Irish sea salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- olive oil
Start by slicing your black pudding into thick slices.
Cur your cauliflower into florets and place them in a pot. Cover the cauliflower with water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for 1-2 minutes. Add soy cream and use a hand blender to mix into a creamy sauce. If you’re still seeing lumps keep mixing until they’re all gone and you have a smooth sauce.
Season your scallops with just a pinch of pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper each and heat up oil in a frying pan. Start by frying up the black pudding, a couple of minutes on each side will do. You can then pop them into a pre-heated oven at 200° to keep them warm and to make them a bit crispier.
Meanwhile shortly fry the scallops on each side, don’t fry them too long as they’ll become chewy. 1,5 minutes on each side should be enough.
Use about 1-2 tablespoons of the warm cauliflower cream with one slice of pudding and one scallop. Serving tip: use individual shells to make it look even more spectacular!