Scallops with Tomatoes, Corn and Paprika on Quick Polenta

This sustainable seafood recipe is from our partner, Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Wild-caught sea scallops from the U.S. Atlantic are on the Seafood Watch yellow, “Good Alternatives” list. The majority of farmed scallops worldwide are a “Best Choices” because the way they’re raised presents few threats to the environment.


(Serves 2)

Quick Polenta
1/2 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

12 ounces sea scallops, patted dry
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, sliced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
1 cup grape tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


Mix 2 cups water, polenta, oil, salt, paprika and a generous amount of pepper in a medium microwave-proof bowl. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly. Return to the microwave and cook on high for 5 more minutes. Stir well. Mix in the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until brown on the outside but still translucent in the center, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 of tablespoon oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cayenne and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the corn and tomatoes and stir until the corn is just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Mix in the coriander and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return the scallops to the skillet with any juices on the plate and stir until heated and cooked through (they will feel springy to the touch and will be slightly translucent when cut with a small sharp knife, about 30 seconds).

Spoon the polenta onto 2 warmed plates, spreading in a circle. Spoon the scallops and vegetables over. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Recipe by:
Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor

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