Saturday, November 15, 2008

Five-Spice Seared Scallops with Creamy Pumpkin Polenta and Cranberry Glaze

This was the creamiest polenta I've ever made.  I've used good quality corn meal before but never been satisfied with the texture so this time I purchased polenta from Bob's Red Mill and it was very good. 

The original idea for this dish came from talking it  over with my friend at work; she had the idea of pairing scallops and chicken for a unique twist on "surf& turf".  Andy wasn't in the mood for chicken tonight though so we narrowed it down to just scallops.  And I thought polenta would be a nice warm, filling, and seasonal side dish with the addition of pumpkin puree.  Lastly, I topped it off with homemade cranberry sauce, which in my onion makes any dish better!


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • salt and pepper



  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 20 bay scallops, patted dry


Cranberry Glaze:

For the polenta: Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sage to the oil and cook until the sage is slightly crisped, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile, put the broth and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta, reduce the heat to low, and cook, whisking occasionally, until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. Pull the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the pumpkin, sage with the oil, cheese, salt, and pepper. Hold in a warm place.

For the scallops: Heat a small to medium skillet over high heat. Pour the five-spice powder onto a plate with some salt. Press both sides of the scallops into the powder. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO to a hot skillet. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until opaque.

For the cranberry glaze: use leftover roasted cranberry sauce stirred with TJ's cranberry butter or honey as a topping.

Place a scoop of creamy pumpkin polenta in the center of a dinner plate or bowl, top with scallops and cranberry glaze.  Enjoy!

I used a combination of the following recipes here, here, and here

Place any leftover polenta in the fridge overnight to harden.  Slice and saute in a skillet with EVOO as a quick side dish another night.  I sometimes top the sauteed polenta slices with salsa or warm marinara.


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