Scallops and Polenta

I have a soft spot for quick, easy, and pretty comfort food dishes! This dish is very reminiscent of one of our household favorites- shrimp and grits. Traditionally, we make that special dish from Charleston, South Carolina at Easter-time. Maybe this version should be our fall variation! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, via The Gourmet Gourmand. We ate it with sautéed broccoli rabe and broccoli on the side. Lovely!

Yield: Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup dried polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand; do NOT use instant polenta for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano (I also added a little bit of shredded Gruyère)
  • 8 sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • 3 T grape seed oil
  • 1 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs of fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley, and/or thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

To prepare polenta:

  1. Bring water and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.) While whisking, slowly add the polenta. Whisk frequently to avoid lumps. When mixture begins to spit, turn heat down to simmer (polenta should intermittently bubble and pop, but not rapidly).
  2. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes, until polenta is thickened and soft and pulls away slightly from the edge of the pot. Add the grated cheese and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and about 1/4 tsp of salt.

To prepare scallops and sauce:

  1. Pat your scallops dry and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a regular or cast-iron skillet, bring the grape seed oil to high heat. When pan is very hot, add scallops and sear for about 3 minutes. Flip the scallops and sear on the opposite side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until scallops are cooked to your liking. Remove scallops and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until butter is lightly browned and smells nice and nutty. Turn off heat. Finish sauce with lemon juice (carefully! It will bubble and spit). Quickly pour into bowl or serving vessel to stop the cooking process. (It can be strained through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, if desired.)
  4. Serve scallops over bed of polenta, with a drizzle of the brown-butter sauce and minced herbs.

Note: Cooking the scallops in oil vs. butter allows you to sear them at a higher temperature for optimal sear marks and will give you more control over creating your browned butter sauce without burning the butter.

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

36 responses to “Scallops and Polenta

  1. Ohhh love this, scallops and polenta what a great combination. The scallops look perfect.

  2. Ohhhhhh this looks sooooo good!

  3. Delicious! In my country we love polenta, it goes so well with any kind of meat, fish or even soups.

    • Polenta does really pair well with so many things. I was considering making a polenta-sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving this year- but I just changed to a completely vegetarian recipe. I love it with shredded pork as well.

  4. Love polenta, I usually make it meat…will have to try it with scallops 🙂

  5. Lovely dish Josette, I adore scallops, but always feel a bit intimidated when it comes to cooking them. Yours look perfect 🙂

  6. You’ve taken two favorites and served them together. Yum!

  7. I haven’t got it right with polenta yet…maybe I need to try again 🙂

  8. I agree completely. Not only is polenta and risotto, as well, so easy, but also so versatile. Your scallops are perfection!

  9. Look at those gorgeous scallops! This looks divine and I love that it is a version of shrimp and grits, which my family loves! I don’t have a lot of scallop recipes, so I am happy to add this one to my stash.

  10. Yummy! I just love polenta 🙂 Gorgeous presentation!

  11. Oh, but does this look good!!

  12. Oh my goodness, this looks so amazingly delicious! I love grits, being a native Texas gal myself, and scallops are so good cooked this way. Yours are just gorgeous!

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