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Seared Scallops with Bacon Jam and Rosemary Polenta

If you're looking for an easy show-stopper of a meal, look no further. These sea scallops take only minutes to make (and with very little prep work) but you'll feel like you're eating at a five star restaurant! Savory, salty, sweet, crispy, cheesy-- this recipe has it all!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Scallops, Seafood
Servings: 2
Calories: 501kcal


For the Bacon Jam

  • 1/2 cup raw chopped bacon about 3 slices
  • 1 large shallot chopped about 1/3 cup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Polenta

  • 2 cups polenta cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

For the Scallops

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh sea scallops
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove smashed


Make the Bacon Jam

  • Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan.
  • Next, add the shallot (leave the bacon grease in the pan) and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until the shallot is soft and starting to brown. Add the apple cider vinegar and water to to deglaze the pan-- make sure to scape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the brown sugar.
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer until the water has been evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Make the Polenta

  • Cook the polenta according to the package directions (cooking time and water amounts will vary). When the polenta has finished cooking, add the parmesan, creme fraiche, and rosemary. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sear the Scallops

  • Lay the scallops on a paper towel and pat them dry. Remove any abductor muscles (the small squares on the side of the scallop) and season them lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and wait until it begins to ripple. The oil should be almost smoking. If it starts to smoke, carefully remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few seconds before resuming.
  • Add the scallops to the pan (make sure not to overcrowd the pan) in a single layer and let them sear for one minute. If the scallop sticks when you try to flip it, let it continue cooking for another 30 seconds before trying again. As the crust develops, it will naturally release from the pan.
  • Once you’ve flipped the scallops, add the butter, garlic, and rosemary. Carefully tilt the pan toward you and use a small spoon to pour the melted butter on top of the scallops. Be careful– the handle will likely be hot.


  • Place half the polenta in a large bowl, top with scallops and bacon jam. Finish with something fresh-- arugula, chopped parsley, or micro greens are all good options. Serve immediately.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 2028mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 1mg