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Seared scallops with quinoa, apple salad and butternut pumpkin

This a meal that is seriously impressive in both taste and appearance and has the added bonus of being surprisingly simple.

How long will it take?

50 minutes

What’s the serving size?

Serves 4

What do I need?

For the butternut squash puree

  • 1 butternut pumpkin (about 1kg)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Garam masala

For the quinoa salad

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 apples
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the seared scallops

  • 1 kg scallops
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

How do I make it?

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a baking pan with aluminium foil. 
  2. Trim both ends of the butternut pumpkin and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of both halves and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Place the halves cut side down on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh.
  3. While the butternut pumpkin is cooking, prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa and 3 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, open the lid, and let cool.
  4. Transfer the flesh of the butternut pumpkin to a blender (or you can put it in a bowl and use a stick blender), along with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer the quinoa into a bowl, along with chopped apple and parsley.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine.
  7. Pat dry the scallops with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper.
  8. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on high heat.  Once it begins to smoke, add the scallops and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until they have browned on one side.  Using tongs, flip the scallops and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.
  9. To plate, start by spooning 3 tablespoons of butternut squash puree onto the plate (or shallow bowl). Top with a couple spoonfuls of quinoa salad, followed by the seared scallops. Spoon some of the remaining melted butter from the pan on top of the scallops.

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