Weekend Red Pepper Polenta Bowl with Market Vegetables & Seared Sea Scallops

Spend a little time in the kitchen making these Polenta Bowls, and you’ll have the perfect weekend dinner to serve for a date night in or when company calls. The extra effort of mixing pureed roasted pepper into cooked polenta doesn’t go unnoticed, and sea scallops are always impressive.

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • For the Polenta:
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 1-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced
  • 1 ear fresh corn, roasted, cut off the cob
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • For the Scallops:
  • 12 sea scallops
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper , to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other high-heat cooking oil
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, minced
  • micro greens

Directions

  1. In an Anolon Nouvelle Copper 3.5 Qt. Saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil over medium heat. Gradually add polenta and salt and lower heat to a simmer, whisking to avoid clumps. Simmer until polenta is cooked, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often. When polenta is cooked, remove from heat and stir in butter and milk. Cover and set aside or keep on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Roast the bell pepper under an oven broiler or over an open flame until blackened and charred in spots), turning often. Remove from heat and place in a covered bowl or ziploc bag to steam for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely and add to a food processor, pureeing until somewhat smooth. Add pureed pepper and balsamic vinegar to the polenta and stir to combine.
  3. In an Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stanless Steel Skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, eggplant and snap peas and saute until browned, about 5-7 minutes. For more even browning, add vegetables in batches and add more olive oil as needed, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. If cooking in batches, add all vegetables back to the pan when cooked. Add tomatoes and corn and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Add oil to a skillet and heat over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Pat sea scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Carefully add scallops to the hot pan and cook, without moving, until a brown crust has formed, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip and cook for another minute or so on the other side. Do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet to avoid overcrowding; if the pan is too crowded the scallops will steam rather than sear, and the brown crust will not form. Transfer scallops to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Divide polenta evenly into bowls. Top each bowl with the vegetable mixture and three sea scallops. Garnish with fresh basil and micro greens.
  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the weeknight version of this recipe, click here.