Coconut Cauliflower Soup with Seared Sea Scallops and Cilantro Oil

Cauliflowers are now in season, and I recently went to a couple of restaurants that offered cauliflower soups as their specials.  They were mostly pureed then added some cream to make it nice and creamy.  I love the intense cauliflower flavor, but I long for something different so I decided to add some Thai spices and thicken it with coconut milk instead of cream.  I also want to add a protein to this soup and thought scallops would compliment the cauliflower well.  Finally, to add a little extra depth of flavor and color, I added a drizzle of cilantro oil.

Coconut Cauliflower Soup with Seared Sea Scallops and Cilantro Oil - Serves 4 - 6
1 head of Cauliflower
1 medium yellow onion (diced)
2 stalks of lemongrass (diced white parts only)
2 dried Thai bird chili
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tsp of grated fresh ginger
4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Seared Sea Scallop
1/2 pound of Sea Scallop (6-8 scallops depending on size)
Sea Salt for seasoning

Cilantro Oil
1 cup of packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a dutch oven or soup pot, sweat the onions with olive oil.  Season with salt and let it sweat for about 5 minutes until transparent.  Add lemongrass, saute a few minutes then add the ginger and Thai chili.  Cut the cauliflower in small florets then add to the mixture.  Saute for a few minutes and season with salt.  Add the coconut milk and warm chicken stock.  Bring it to a boil then reduce to simmer for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare your cilantro oil.  Add the cilantro leaves, salt and lime juice in the food processor and slowly drizzle the extra virgin olive oil until it's well blended.  Strain then set the oil aside for later use.

Once the soup is done, puree it in the food processor one batch at a time, then strain in fine sieve and keep warm.  For the scallops, heat a saute pan, once the pan is heated, add olive oil then sprinkle some sea salt on each scallop then add the scallops (do not overcrowd the pan) and pan sear one side until golden brown (a few minutes), then turned to the other side and cook for another minute until it's cooked through.

Ladle soup in a bowl, add the seared scallop on top and drizzle with some cilantro oil.  This can be served as an appetizer or put a couple of extra scallops and serve as main course.  I love the sweetness of the coconut and the cauliflower with the heat of the Thai chili.  The cilantro oil really adds a depth of freshness and flavor to the soup.  This soup is great for entertaining.  You could make the soup and cilantro oil in advance, and all you have to do is to pan-sear the scallops just before serving.  It's easy, healthful and flavorful, who doesn't love that!


  1. Ooo I love the idea of using Thai spices and coconut milk instead of cream in a cauliflower soup! And you are a scallop-searing master, Margaret - it looks perfect!

  2. Hey Angi! Thanks so much for your kind comment!Much Love!

  3. Nice combination of cauliflower and Thai flavors, two of my favorite. The scallops add sweetness to the heat, great choice.

  4. Hi Ken. I'm glad you like the combination and thanks for the lovely comment!

  5. This looks and sounds amazingly delicious! What a unique recipe. I'm bookmarking this one for later!

  6. I adore the combination of scallops and coconut. Love the addition of the cilantro oil too. Subtle and beautiful

  7. Beautiful! I love the seared scallop, definitely a nice touch of protein.

  8. Cauliflower coconut??? YES! That is such a good idea.

  9. Hi Margaret, It's Jodi from the strawberry event the other night. It was so nice to meet you and I wanted to stop by your blog and let you know how much I love it! And I especially love this soup that I will have to try.


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