Seared Scallops with Corn and Pancetta

Hi!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and good Father’s day

My Dad is a big steak lover so I knew I wanted to make him some sort of steak.

I was inspired by this recipe from Grandbaby Cakes for marinated skirt steak with chimmichurri. I followed the marinade exactly but changed the chimmichurri recipe slightly.

If there are two proteins I’m not super confident in cooking it would be steak and scallops. And I made both last night lol..But with some guidance from Chef Maju (my boyfriend) I did a pretty good job!

I figured doing a surf n turf meal would be fun and since it was Father’s day I wanted to do something a bit more elaborate.

I probably have not cooked scallops since culinary school..and I’m not really sure why because I do like them. But it’s really only my Dad and I that are fans and my brother and Mom are on the fence about them. Well, I’m happy to report that my culinary school skills came in handy because even my brother and Mom loved the scallops last night! Success!

Scallops pair really well with bacon so I started out by cooking some pancetta. Pancetta is very similar to bacon. The only difference is that pancetta is pork belly that is simply cured vs bacon is pork belly that is cured and then smoked.

Most grocery stores sell pre-diced pancetta in little packets which is a huge time saver.

You want to cook the pancetta over med-high heat for about 6 minutes until the bits are nice and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside for later.

I kept the fat from the pancetta in the pan because that was my “oil” to sear the scallops in. It really depends on the size of your scallops in terms of cooking time but scallops cook quickly. These scallops were fairly small so I only cooked them for about 45 seconds per side. Yup, that’s it! There’s really nothing worse than an overcooked scallop…I think this is why a lot of people think they don’t like scallops because a lot of restaurants simply just don’t cook them right.

When you sear the scallops you want the heat on high to get a nice color on them without having to overcook them.

Just set the scallops aside while you prepare the corn mixture. Also a small note..I seared these in 2 batches so that I didn’t overcrowd the pan.

To the same pan I added butter, shallot, diced bell pepper, corn. Cooked for about 2-3 minutes. Then I added in smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and calabrian chili.

Season the corn mixture to taste. Then turn off the heat and add the scallops on top along with a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with some fresh herbs, the crispy pancetta, and maybe another drizzle of calabrian chili.

This is such a quick and easy summer meal. The combination of the salty pancetta with the sweet corn and scallops is SO good.

Seared Scallops with Corn and Pancetta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound scallops (or about 4 scallops per person) 
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced small
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (whichever color), diced small
  • 4-6 ears of corn, cut off the cob*
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp calabrian chili (optional)
  • Juice of ½ a lemon 
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs for garnish (cilantro, dill, or parsley all work) 
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Rince the scallops and then pat them dry. Make sure they are REALLy dry. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper on each side. Set aside.
  2. In a medium cast iron skillet (or any medium sized saute pan), cook the pancetta over medium high heat until the pancetta is nice and crispy. This will take about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta and set aside for later. 
  3. Turn the pan to high heat and add the scallops to sear. You may have to sear the scallops in batches to make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of the scallops cook for 45 seconds-2 minutes per side (small scallops=45 seconds, large scallops=2 minutes). Remove them from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add in the butter. Add the shallot and bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the corn and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the smoked paprika, cumin, calabrian chili, and about ½ tbsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper. Cook for another minute and then taste for seasoning. 
  5. Remove the corn from the heat. Add the scallops on top of the corn mixture followed by the crispy pancetta, juice of ½ a lemon, fresh herbs, and an optional drizzle of calabrian chili. Serve immediately.

Note: If your ears of corn are small I would do 6 ears. If they are large you only need 4. I really recommend fresh corn for this but in a pinch you could substitute 3 cups of frozen corn.

This recipe is extremely simply, has a short ingredient list, and is packed with summer flavors. I hope you give this a try! If you do don’t forget to take a picture and tag @chefchelc on instagram:)

XX Chelcie