Recipe: Seared Scallops with Sweet Corn Risotto

For nights where you want to impress someone with a dinner that’s still easy to make!

For nights where you want to impress someone with a dinner that’s still easy to make

When shopping for scallops, see if your fishmonger has superior, dry-packed scallops. To sear them to golden perfection, pat them dry and then oil them (not the pan) before adding them to a hot pan to get the crust you’re looking for (and to avoid having the oil smoke in the hot pan). Then, resist the urge to move them; it’s better to cook scallops almost through on the first side and get a good sear, than flip it halfway through. They should release from the pan easily when they are well-seared.


For the Sweet Corn Risotto:

  • 4 ears of sweet corn, shucked and picked clean of cornsilk
  • 4 cups no-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the seared scallops:

  • 12 fresh sea scallops, U10 size, beards removed
  • Grapeseed oil, or other oil with a high smoke point
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the bitter greens salad:

  • ¼ cup apple cider or champagne vinegar
  • Juice and grated zest of half a lemon
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ head radicchio or Treviso, cut thinly (chiffonade)
  • 1 head frisee, washed and bitter outer green edges removed, torn into pieces
  • 1 bulb Belgian endive, chiffonade
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces


For risotto:

Cut kernels off of corn and set aside. Hold the cob up vertically on cutting board, and drag the sharp edge of a knife down the cob to milk it, adding any fibre or liquid that comes out to the bowl with the reserved kernels. Break cobs in half and combine milked corn cobs with vegetable stock and water in a medium saucepan with lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for 20 minutes. Remove cobs from stock and discard, keeping stock warm on back burner of stove.

In a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and sauté until coated with oil and shiny, about 2 minutes. Add white wine and a healthy pinch of kosher salt and stir until it is absorbed into rice.

Add a ladle of stock, about ⅔ of a cup. Stirring continuously, continue adding stock one ladle at a time, adding the next when the one before has been almost completely absorbed. This process should take about 20 minutes. When ¾ of the stock has been used, add the corn kernels to the pan and stir. Continue adding stock, until the risotto is creamy and rice is cooked to al dente. If needed, use hot water to thin the risotto if all of the corn stock is gone. Stir in butter and tarragon and taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve with seared scallops.

For seared scallops:

Heat a well seasoned cast iron (or other heavy, seasoned) skillet over medium high heat. Dry the scallops on a piece of paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle scallops with oil and toss to coat. Place scallops in pan, making sure not to overcrowd. Cook scallops until you have achieved a proper sear and the scallop releases easily from the pan. Flip scallops over using tongs. It should just barely need to cook on the other side. Serve immediately with sweet corn risotto.

For bitter greens salad:

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Just before serving, add the prepared salad greens and toss with tongs. Serve with risotto and scallops.

Servings: Makes 4 servings


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