Cauliflower Soup With Scallops

Last year around this time I had an absolutely delectable soup at a Talula's Table dinner, and have had savory memories of it from time to time since. When designing my Christmas eve dinner my mind wandered back to it, and I decided to finally take a stab at recapturing that cauliflowery deliciousness. I was inspired by this recipe on Epicurious and after adapting it to suit my tastes (and budget!), am extremely pleased with the end result. This is one voluptuous soup. 


Cauliflower Soup with Scallops
Makes 4-6 servings
*1 scant tablespoon butter*EVOO*1 small shallot, minced*1 garlic clove, minced*1 medium head cauliflower*Equal parts chicken stock and water, about 3ish cups of each*1/4 cup cream*1 thumbnail size piece of Parmesan rind (or just a piece cut from a wedge)*S&P (white pepper, if you don't want to blemish the ivory surface of the soup!)*3-4 bay scallops or 1 sea scallop per serving
Carve the core out of the cauliflower and break the head into small florets. In a pot melt butter over medium heat and drizzle with a dribble of evoo. Sweat the shallot for a few minutes, add the garlic and continue to saute for a few minutes more. Add the cauliflower, then just barely cover with water & chicken stock (around 3-3 1/2 cups of each). Throw in the piece of Parmesan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes with the pot partially covered. When the cauliflower is totally tender, puree everything with an immersion blender and add the cream. Season with salt & white pepper to taste. Pass the soup through a fine mesh sieve to achieve that smooth silky consistency.
Meanwhile, prep the scallops – trim the muscle if necessary and dry the scallops thoroughly. Season with S&P. Heat a skillet over high heat, add a small slick of evoo and sear scallops briefly on both sides, about a minute total for bay scallops and a minute and a half per side for sea scallops. Serve soup in shallow bowls and garnish with the scallops.