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Scallops on Polenta with Mushrooms

Serving Size: 4

Preparation Time: 6:00 due to the chilling of the polenta.

The Polenta
  • 1 cup milk, boiled
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground corn meal
  • A pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 whole green onions, white and green parts chopped
  • 1 clove roasted garlic, mashed or minced
  • Good, though not peppery olive oil
The Scallops
  • 4 large sea scallops
  • Kosher salt
The Sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup morels, dry, or any mushroom
  • 1/4 cup porcini mushrooms, dry (must use porcini)
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, thick sliced (fresh -- must use these)
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter (very cold)

To make the polenta: boil the milk and add the salt. Slowly stir in the cornmeal and stir for 8 minutes adding a little more milk if needed to correct the consistency. Then add the tomatoes, scallions and garlic and stir one more minute.

Grease a 9 by 9 inch pan and pour the polenta into it. Spray a spatula with a non-stick vegetable spray and smooth the top. Cover the polenta with plastic wrap and chill it until it is firm and cool.

When you are ready to serve, you need to cut the polenta into nice-sized triangles large enough to hold the scallop as a base on the plate and still stick out a little beyond the scallop. So, cut the polenta into triangles, remove them from the pan, and paint both sides with the olive oil (or use just plain vegetable oil). Heat a grill pan to hot and grill each side of the polenta so grill marks show and the polenta has a grilled, charred smoky taste. Place the slices on the plate.

Salt the scallops on the top and place them, salt side down, into a hot dry non-stick pan. Salt the up side. When the scallops are seared then turn once and sear the other side. When done remove from the pan and place atop the polenta.

In the same pan the scallops were seared in, pour the chicken soup, mushrooms and Marsala wine. Cook to freshen the mushrooms and slightly reduce the liquid, then stir in the cold butter as a binding agent that will thicken the sauce as well as enrich it. Spoon the sauce and mushrooms over the scallops and polenta.

Garnish with chopped fresh anything green you have around such as parsley, chervil, chives, green onion tops or even something as strong a flavor as thyme leaves would work and not detract. NO rosemary however. I served it a couple times with chive spears crossed on top or stuck into the scallops in holes I made with toothpicks first. It gave the dish further height and dramatic presentation. Chives placed around the polenta also look nice.

Have fun with it. It's fun to play with your food!

Dr. Stu.

Recipe courtesy of and © Stuart Borken.

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