Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

A very popular appetizer at parties and restaurants in New England is bacon wrapped sea scallops. While this is a delicious starter, I wanted the same flavors for an evening meal and created Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta. Each bite of crisp, salty smoked bacon, tender sea scallops, and creamy corn polenta is a nice contrast of textures and flavors that is a true taste treat in your mouth.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta
Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

Pan Seared Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

Recipe serves two, adjust according

Creamy Corn Polenta

  • corn kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn or about 1 c. if using frozen corn
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter plus an additional Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. half & half or whole milk (do not use reduced fat milk or it will curdle)
  • 1/2 c. polenta
  • 2 c. of liquid (water, chicken or vegetable broth can be used) *
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (if using broth, you may not need the salt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sniped chives for garnish (optional)

*The basic ratio for cooking polenta is 1 part polenta to 4 parts of liquid.

Divide the corn kernels in half. Add the half & half to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add one half of the corn and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Using a stick blender, blend until you have a smooth consistency then set the mixture aside.

Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a small sauté pan until the butter is melted. Cook the remainder of the corn over medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes, then set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the liquid and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta in a fine steady stream to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to simmer and cover with a lid slightly askew to prevent splattering. Stir often with a long handle spoon as it thickens, adding extra liquid if necessary. Cook until the polenta becomes creamy, about 25-30 minutes (the cooking time may be different depending on the polenta you use.)

Add the pureed corn and cook a few minutes more then stir in the sautéed corn kernels, reserving a few for garnish. Stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm. The polenta will thicken as it cools so prepare it as close to serving time as possible. Add more liquid to loosen, if necessary.

Scallops With Bacon Lardons

  • 2 slices of bacon (I used thick sliced applewood smoked bacon)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • sea scallops (I use large U10 dry scallops** and figure 4 or 5 a person)
  • salt and pepper to taste

**Dry scallops are all wild and natural. They are not treated with any chemicals whatsoever and will brown nicely.

Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch slices, place in a nonstick sauté pan and cook until crisp. Remove and place on paper towel. Reserve the bacon drippings.

Dry the sea scallops well and season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil to the bacon drippings. When the oil is shimmering, add the scallops in one layer and cook undisturbed for one and a half to two minutes or until golden. Turn and cook for approximately another minute or two until golden brown. They should be be a little translucent in the center and almost firm to the touch. Do not over cook or the scallops will be tough. ***Be sure to not overcrowd the scallops or they will not brown properly. Cook in two batches, if necessary.

To serve, stir the polenta well (adding a little half & half or liquid if necessary) then spoon a portion in the center of a plate. Top with a portion of sea scallops, sprinkle with the bacon lardons, the reserved corn kernels and garnish with chives.

****

This dish had all the flavors of bacon wrapped scallops that I love as an appetizer but offered so much more for an evening meal. The creamy corn polenta, the succulent scallops and the bacon lardons were a perfect combination of salty, sweet, soft and crispy. I believe this recipe would also make a wonderful first course, serving one or two scallops a person, depending on the size of the scallops.

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228 thoughts on “Sea Scallops With Bacon Lardons On Creamy Corn Polenta

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Prudy. The flavors and textures in this meal worked so well together…I’m happy to know that you like it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Bonnie, So true about New England seafood, the sea scallops here are big and delicious. The lardons went perfectly…bite size pieces to go with both the scallops and the polenta.

  1. What a lovely combination of flavours. I don’t get scallops nearly enough and with the crunchy salty bacon and soft and creamy sweet corn polenta I know I’d enjoy it.

  2. This looks sooooo delicious, sitting down to breakfast and I would love to have this dish in front of me right now. My daughter will love this dish also so am forwarding your post to her.

    1. Hi Norma, I know how you feel…when I look at the photo, it makes me want to prepare the dish again soon. 🙂 Thank you for your nice compliment and for passing the recipe along to your daughter.

    1. Hi Karen, I think scallops wrapped in bacon are a hard to resist appetizer. I wanted to create the same flavors but in a way to enjoy at dinner time. I’m glad that you like the way I presented the dish. Thank you!

  3. That sure does look and sound delicious Karen. I made creamy polenta last month for a recipe test and it was TDF! We loved it and I think this combo would be wonderful.

    1. Hi Eva, I think you would like this polenta with the addition of sweet corn. I thought it went great with the scallops. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Judy, We really are lucky that we have such great seafood available to us here in New Hampshire. Once you have cooked sea scallops at home and realize how easy they are, I believe you will be doing it all the time. A few tips: cook them in a nonstick plan with a little oil over high heat, don’t overcrowd them, don’t move them until it is time to turn them over, and don’t cook them too long. Simple as that. I hope you will enjoy the meal, thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Lea Ann, Yes, the flavor and texture of this dish was indeed good. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe and appreciate your nice compliment.

  4. What an appealing dish. It has that characteristic ‘look’ that I associate with your food: colourful and elegant. I like the idea of using bacon lardons instead of wrapping the scallops in bacon. Sometimes things wrapped in bacon can be more difficult to eat, and have a less appealing appearance underneath the bacon. Funny thing, I was thinking about you as I waited for my reader to load, and voila, there was your post, first in line!

    1. I truly appreciate your kinds words, Marlene. I’m so happy that you like the way I present the meals that I create. I agree with you about it being hard to eat somethings that are wrapped in bacon. I’ve been so busy of late and missed posting on Monday like I usually do, thank you for thinking about me. 🙂

    1. Hi Amy, I totally agree with you about scallops, they really are great. I’m glad that you like the recipe, I thought the flavor combination was a good one. Thank you!

    1. I really do appreciate your kind words, Tin Man. 😀 I think the sweet corn polenta went well with the scallops and salty bacon. I’m happy to know that you like the dish.

  5. I think scallops are such a great seafood to pair with bacon. Some seafoods are way too light for it, but scallops are pretty meaty. Love the creaminess of something like polenta, grits, or risotto with it too.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I’m happy to know that my timing was good with this recipe. I hope you and your friends will enjoy the meal as much as my husband and I did. Thank you for your nice compliment.

      1. This was a savory dish which was outstanding. We licked our plates it was so good. The bacon added a more complex point to the dish. I added a white wine reduction after the scallops were done and drizzled it over the finished plated entree. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Cheri, for your lovely compliment. This meal does make a nice presentation but is ever so simple to prepare. I do hope you get a chance to visit New England someday…it is especially pretty in the fall when the leaves are changing.

    1. I appreciate you nice compliment, Conor. I do think this would be an excellent starter when entertaining. You are right about the polenta…I always keep extra liquid at the ready in case the consistency needs adjusting just before serving. 🙂

    1. Hi Ksenia, There is something really nice about the bacon and scallop combination that works. I do think the corn polenta complemented all the flavors. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  6. Definitely delicious. We don’t often make polenta. I’m not sure why. We do enjoy it. The scallops look fantastic and are certainly a favorite seafood around here. 🙂

    1. Thank you Kristy, for you nice compliment. There is something about polenta that I like. It don’t mask the flavors of the other foods that are served with it that I enjoy. It is kind of like serving something on top of mashed potatoes…but a girl can’t eat potatoes all the time. 😀

    1. Hi Ray, I’m glad you like the meal…my husband and I thought it was delicious. I’ll be making this one again soon. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Madonna. I’m happy to know that you like the meal. Yes…do use “dry” scallops whenever you are going to sauté them, wet scallops will never sear and brown properly.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment, Amanda. This really is a simple dish to prepare and so good. Adding fresh corn to the polenta gives it extra flavor…we thought it was delicious.

  7. This looks both delicious and elegant. I love the combination of polenta, bacon and scallops. Mmmmm…

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

    Jane xx

    1. Thank you Jane, for your lovely compliment. I do have to agree with you about this being a delicious dinner. It is simple to prepare but nice enough to serve guests if you are entertaining. I’m happy you like the recipe. 🙂

    1. Thank you Rosemary, I’m glad you like the sea scallops. We both grew up in the south where grits were popular and polenta is very similar. 🙂

    1. Hi Larry, I’m glad that you like the presentation of this meal, thank you. I think the trick to getting that lovely sear on the scallops is using a hot nonstick pan, not crowding them and making sure to use “dry” scallops.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Dana…it is always nice to meet another New Englander. I’m glad you like how I took the flavors of a traditional New England appetizer and turned it into a nice evening meal.

  8. This looks absolutely wonderful. My middle son would definitely enjoy this, all his favorites in one meal…polenta, scallops, bacon and corn. Wow, might need to consider this for his birthday dinner.

    1. Hi Gretchen, It sounds like your son and I have similar tastes. If you do make it for his birthday celebration, I hope he will enjoy it as much as my husband and I did. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Ngan, I have to agree with you…bacon and scallops are a great combination. The sweet and creamy corn polenta was indeed a delicious base for the scallops. I’m happy you like the dish, thank you!

    1. Hi Charlie, I hope you will enjoy the meal. My husband and I thought it was a real winner. My pleasure on the instructions…it really is an easy meal to prepare. 🙂

  9. I so love the combo of scallops and bacon! Match made in heaven. Never paired the two with polenta, though (grits is my usual). I need to do this — looks terrific. Thanks.

    1. Hi John, I totally agree about it being a match made in heaven…I think it is a combination everyone enjoys. Growing up in Texas, I have eaten my share of grits and they could certainly be used in this recipe. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Diane, I’m glad you like my variation of bacon wrapped scallops. We had them as a main course but I was just saying to my husband that I’m going to serve them as an appetizer the next time we entertain.

    1. Thank you Jess, I’m glad you like the looks of this dish. So true about scallops and bacon being such a good combination. I thought the polenta was a nice compliment with the sweet corn paring well with the scallops.

  10. Oh my, that’s a beautiful plate of food. All the flavors work together to make every mouth happy.

    1. Hi Laura, A hot pan is important to getting that nice sear. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe for the corn polenta…it went so well with the scallops. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Kathryn, I’m happy that you like the meal I created, thank you. I do think it is a great combination of flavors. I think the only thing that could possible go wrong when preparing this meal is if someone overcooks the scallops. Overcook them and they will be tough.

      1. Agree on that one! But I must confess, I gravitate towards anything with bacon in it. And since I’m from Texas, the polenta really grabbed me (it’s like grits to me!) and then now living in the PNW for 20 years, I’m fan of all things seafood too.

      2. Hi Kathryn, I think we all love bacon and it goes great with sea scallops. Whether living in the Pacific Northwest or New England, both coasts do provided us with great seafood. Since we are both from Texas, I agree with you about grits. 🙂 Thank you for your nice compliment.

  11. This looks perfect! I’ve never loved bacon wrapped scallops as much as I wanted to because of how bacon-wrapped anything seems to prevent the crisp I want on the bacon and the sear I want on the “anything.” I bet the corn adds the perfect sweetness, too!

    1. Hi Plumdirt, You are correct…it is hard to get bacon crispy when it is wrapped around the sides of food that is just seared. I think you would enjoy this dish as the scallops are seared nicely and you have crispy bacon. I do think the corn adds a lovely sweetness to complement the other ingredients. Thank you for your compliment.

    1. Hi Angie, We are so lucky to have wonderful large scallops available to us here in New England. You are right about the combination of scallops and bacon being a good paring. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  12. Karen – your timing could not be more perfect! Mark and I are traveling and we are entertaining friends at our Airbnb tonight. I had planned scallops and something with corn, and along you come with this perfect recipe! Looking forward to making this tonight!

  13. Angels on horseback (oysters wrapped with bacon) are always a big hit at Louisiana cocktail parties. Scallops sound just as delicious, and your revision of the menu sounds terrific. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. It must be telepathy: I made scallops last night too! I love scallops practically in every possible way (maybe apart from a vanilla sauce I still remember after long years…) and I agree bacon is a perfect company. Your dish is just gorgeous and the scallops perfectly browned (this is not always obvious…).

    1. Hi Sissi, It sounds like we both have a love affair with scallops. I appreciate your lovely compliment and think you would enjoy this meal. 🙂

    1. Hi Selma, thank you for your lovely compliment. I do think the corn polenta complements the sweetness of the scallops and I’m glad you like the combination. 🙂

  15. I recently found a good place to get seafood in Kitchener, Ontario. They also have good scallops, but my scallop experiences are limited. Thanks for sharing this, Karen, because it’s definitely going to be something I will try with scallops!

    1. Hi Liz, I appreciate your lovely compliment. I know your husband likes shrimp so perhaps you could make this dish with part scallops and part shrimp. 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, We are indeed lucky to have such a wonderful supply of fresh seafood available to us here in New England. I’m glad you liked our dinner, we are still talking about how good it was.

    1. How do I describe this to you Marcela. If you have ever made a maize porridge or nachinka, the creamy corn polenta would have a similar flavor but sweeter from the pureed fresh corn. I hope that gives you an idea of the taste. 🙂

    1. Thank you Bam, I wish that you could reach through the computer screen. This really was a winner of a dish…my husband and I are still talking about how good it is. 🙂

    1. Hi Kristi, Please do try cooking scallops. Just remember to use a hot nonstick pan with a little oil and do not overcook them. They only need to cook for a minute or two on each side and should still be a little translucent in the middle. I do believe you would enjoy this recipe.

  16. Just a few weeks ago I cooked my first scallops and since they came out so well – I want to try it again and I know this will be the recipe I use. I hope I can get the kind of scallops you recommend but I’m not sure they will be available in land locked Oklahoma!

    1. Hi Kelli, I’m glad to hear that you are wanting to try scallops for a second time. I would call your markets and ask about their scallops, just because you live in the middle of the country doesn’t mean that you can’t get “dry scallops” as I’m sure they are brought into Oklahoma for the restaurants.

    1. Hi Katerina, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the recipe…thank you. I do understand that scallops might be hard to obtain for many of my readers.

  17. I love polenta, I love, bacon and I love scallops. I can also eat everything in this recipe. It would be something special to serve up as an appetizer for guests.

    1. Hi Suzanne, I’m always so happy when I learn that you not only like one of my recipes but that it fits into your dietary restrictions. I do think this is a lovely dish to serve as an appetizer when entertaining. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment, Barbara. I do think all the ingredients worked well together. I’m happy to know that you liked the recipe and photo, thank you!

    1. Hi Denise, your comment made me happy. 😀 The creamy polenta and bacon worked really well with the sea scallops. I’m glad you like the meal, thank you.

  18. Looks delicious! We should all eat more polenta, I think. The other day some friends brought over an appetizer of little rounds of polenta topped with melted cheese, tomato and basil.

    1. Hi Jason, You gave me a chuckle and I do agree with you about eating more polenta. 😀 I’m glad you like this dish, thank you. I think you would enjoy the corn polenta, it is delicious.

    1. Hi Carolyn, I have to agree with you…I think the flavors go very well together. Thank you for your nice compliment…the corn polenta is delicious.

  19. Hi Karen! You have three of my all time favourite ingredients, right there! In fact, there’s something so reassuring about the clean taste of fresh scallops, sweet corn and heavenly/salty bacon! I overdosed on so many wonderful & weird foods whilst I was in China, this dish would be heaven for me right now!

  20. Karen, what a picture perfect presentation of your sea scallops – I love how sweet they taste and I love to cook with them but, alas, around here they are hard to come by. Next time I spy some at my fishmonger, I will remember your wonderful recipe and your elegant presentation!
    Thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe dear friend,
    Andrea

    1. I appreciate your kind words, Andrea. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe and the presentation. Hopefully your fishmonger will have scallops one day as I think you and your family would enjoy this meal.

  21. I saw this last week and was so going to make it…until I saw the price of the scallops. Yikes! (man did they go up!). How do you think mahi mahi or shrimp would do with the recipe?

    1. Hi Ruth, Scallops can be expensive but you don’t need many if you use the large ones and there is no waste. I think shrimp would be good…I suggested that to one of my readers whose husband doesn’t like scallops.

    1. I appreciate your lovely compliment, Amy. I’m glad you like this dish…my husband and I certainly did. I do have the most thoughtful readers. 😀

  22. Well, I’m embarrassed because I’ve never had scallops before! I’ve only seen them cooked on t.v. and have been too nervous to order at a restaurant. But you’re giving me confidence to try them and since my husband loves them, maybe I’ll steal one off his plate and then use your recipe to make at home. Anything with bacon is a hit with me!

    1. Hi Laura, The next time you husband orders scallops definitely try one. Once you have, I think you will enjoy preparing this recipe…I think your husband would happy.

    1. Hi MB, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your lovely compliment. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post and look forward to your return visits. 😀

  23. This is a great tutorial on how to cook scallops, Karen. I appreciate the detail. I love scallops but have shied away from serving them because I’ve had poor results in the past. I undercook or overcook, but I think if I follow this recipe carefully I can gain some confidence. I frequently cook polenta and love the idea of this combination. It sounds wonderful to me! 🙂

    1. Thank you Debra, I’m glad you you liked the post and think it was helpful. I have eaten very fresh paper thin slices scallops that were only “cooked” by the drizzle of a little lime and then wonderfully seasoned. While I loved them, others at the table wouldn’t even try them because they were “raw”. If I had to choose between under or overcooked scallops, it would definitely be undercooked because you can always put them back on the stove and cook them a few seconds more. If they are overcooked, they get rubbery. I do hope you will try cooking them again.

    1. Hi Debbie, You might want to do what I’ve suggested to a couple of my other readers, cook scallops for yourself and shrimp for your husband. Depending on size, they cook in about the same time and both would go well with the polenta, corn and bacon. 🙂

    1. Hi Pamela, I’m glad you like the dish. I know what you mean…there are times I wish I could pop through the screen and join you on your rooftop and pick some of your lovely vegetables. 😀

  24. Bacon and scallops … a classic dish. Scallops I like, but don’t eat it very often. My friend had it for the first time in Chicago and she loves it now. Scallops isn’t my first choice on a seafood menu … but if I order it – it has to have bacon in the description. Yours looks so tasty. Can I take one ????

    1. Thank you Ducky, for your nice compliment. I believe this was one of the best scallop dishes that I’ve prepared. You are right…you must be careful to not overcook scallops or they will be tough.

    1. Hi Carol, Nice to have you catching up on my blog. I made this with fresh summer corn and it was a delicious dish…I’m glad you like the recipe. Thank you.

    1. Hi Teagan, Thank you for your visit and you sweet comment…it gave me a real smile. This has to be one of my all time favorite creations, I’m happy to know you like my recipe.

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