Lemon Pepper Scallops w/ Mashed Cauliflower and Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash
Wow okay that's a lot of words. But really not a lot of ingredients - I promise.
I've been really into cauliflower lately. I especially love Trader Joe's mashed cauliflower and cauliflower gnocchi. Both are super convenient and quick when I don't want to spend a lot of time on dinner. I keep at least a bag of each in my freezer at all times.
Scallops are a great source of protein. You can get 20grams of protein for under 100 calories which is insane and will keep you fuller longer! I used to be so intimidated by scallops - thought for sure I'd mess them up but I was wrong. If you can make shrimp you can make scallops!
You've probably been seeing a lot of delicata squash on your feed lately because it's a winter squash! As the name suggests it is very delicate. You don't have to peel them like you would with butternut because the skin is thin and cooks well. The most popular way I've seen delicata be cooked is just a simple oven roasting method. I decided to make it a little more exciting with some parmesan crust! It just adds a couple more steps but makes a world of difference especially if you're feeling cheesy.
For seasoning on the scallops, I used lemon pepper seasoning that I buy at Trader Joe's. I've seen similar versions at other grocery stores as well. It's very light and just adds some brightness that you won't get from just salt and pepper.
To add some color to the dish I quickly sautéd spinach and diced some fresh dill to sprinkle on top.
This meal is savory and comforting without all the unhealthy stuff. If you'd like to make it a step healthier, just sprinkle the squash with cheese rather than encrusting it. You can also add less cheese and less butter to the mashed cauliflower.
12-16 large scallops
2 bags of Trader Joe's frozen mashed cauliflower (alternate instructions below)
1 bag of spinach
1 small delicata squash
4 tablespoons salted butter
3 cups shredded parmesan
lemon pepper seasoning
2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
Heat your squash in the microwave for 1 minute to make cutting easier
Slice the squash into rings. Cut those rings in half and remove seeds
Add two eggs to a bowl and whisk. Add 2 cups parmesan, 2 teaspoons white pepper, and two teaspoons garlic salt to a shallow bowl or plate, mix.
Get scallops out to sit room temp for 10 minutes. Place on a paper towel to absorb extra moisture
Dredge each piece of squash first through the egg mix, then coat with parmesan mix and transfer to your baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping after 15.
Add frozen mashed cauliflower to a pot and heat over medium low until it begins to defrost and look mashed again. Add 1 cup parmesan, butter, a sprinkle of onion salt and another sprinkle of white pepper. Mix until butter and cheese are melted. Keep warm over low heat.
Sauté a bag of spinach in your frying pan and set aside. Use the same pan for scallops.
Heat 3 tablespoons of a light flavored oil (such as safflower) in a frying skillet over medium heat. Pat scallops dry on all sides. Sprinkle scallops with flour (optional) and lemon pepper seasoning on both sides. Add to the skillet. Do not touch for at least two minutes!!
After two minutes quickly check the bottom to see if its golden enough, it should be. Flip, add a tablespoon of butter and let them sear on this side for another two minutes then remove.
Plate by adding about a cup of mashed cauliflower to a plate. Top first with sautéd spinach, then squash and scallops, then sprinkle with freshly chopped dill.
This meal is easy and impressive. I made it for myself but you could make it for friends, family, a significant other, whoever you want!
Alternative mashed cauliflower options:
You'll need two heads of cauliflower. Cut off the florets and boil in a pot of water until soft. Add to a blender or use a potato masher to get it smooth. Transfer back to the pot if you used a blender and continue regular instructions.