Summer Eats – Scallops Over Polenta and Watermelon Salad

May 20, 2014


Summertime in Florida sometimes leaves me lost when it comes to making dinner. Sure, I’m hungry, but heavy casseroles or stews sound like a horrible idea when temps start crawling up into the 80s and 90s.

The fact that I happen to be nearly 36 weeks pregnant certainly isn’t driving me into the kitchen.

At the same time, I get sick of the same old standbys, and get the guilts every time I tell the hubs to just pick something up on the way home.

So this week I set myself on a quest. The quest for a meal that kept me in the kitchen for a minimal amount of time, looked, sounded, and tasted impressive, and tasted like summertime.

Summertime and pregnancy mean I have a strong desire for some perfect watermelon slices, so I started there.

Somehow, that gave me the idea to try my hand at scallops, even though the thought of scallops makes me think Gordon Ramsey is going to jump out of a cupboard and yell at me.

Despite one too many seasons of Hell’s Kitchen on the brain, I ended up making this dinner: a watermelon, feta, and mint salad paired with seared scallops atop a simple polenta.

It was exactly what I never knew I always needed.


Here’s what you need:

1 cup of de la Estancia organic polenta (yes, I know I’m being terribly specific…for REASONS!)

3 3/4 cups water
1 cup milk (or cream)
sprig of rosemary
handful of cheese
generous knob of butter

Sea Scallops
Sea Salt
olive oil

Mint Leaves

This is so super easy.

Pour your water and milk (I had half and half on hand, so that’s what I used – you could also go ALL water if you are avoiding milk) into a pan with the sprig of rosemary. Bring to a slow boil. If you are using a milk product, keep a close eye to be sure you don’t let it overboil.

If you are cutting from a whole melon, you might want to start that before you put the water/milk on to boil, otherwise, you can easily assemble this salad while you wait for things to boil. Chop mint leaves, crumble feta (to taste), and cut watermelon.

Salad done.

Once your water and milk are boiling, turn the heat down to medium, fish out the rosemary sprig, and stir in your cup of polenta. If you followed the instructions above and purchased this specific polenta, it literally takes a minute to cook. It doesn’t get lumpy. It’s GORGEOUS.

No, seriously. If you’ve ever made polenta, you know that there is a bit of simmering and stirring for a bit, something my poor pregnant back and belly did not want to do. This brand is organic, GMO free, and cooks quickly not because it’s pre-cooked or processed, but due to the very fine ground.

Trust me. It’s totally worth it. And you can order it on Amazon.

Back to the cooking!

Add a healthy (or not so healthy, depending on your opinion) scoop of butter and a handful of cheese and mix it into the polenta. I used romano, but depending on your love of cheese, a Gruyere would be a great option as well.

Get a pan on the stove and let it get hot. Pour a little olive oil in the pan once it’s hot, swirling it around the edges. Take your scallops, which you should have seasoned – I just use salt and pepper – and place them on the edges of your pan, starting at 12 o’ clock and working your way around the pan, making sure they don’t touch each other.

The scallops should cook for about a minute and a half, then flip them over (I used a large spoon) starting at the first scallop you placed. Cook another minute to minute and a half and you should have a perfectly cooked scallop with nice color on the outside that Gordon Ramsey would be proud of.

Set them on a paper towel on a dish and assemble your dish as pretty as you like.

photo (21) photo (22)

A rather fancy looking summer dinner is complete!

Do you have a favorite summertime dish? 


Apologies for the limited iPhone photos. Hunger and the desire to sit overpowered the desire to take pretty pictures. 

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  • Reply The Regular Guy NYC May 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Terrific meal. I love anything with watermelon and feta actually goes well with it. Perfect for warm weather.

  • Reply yannin May 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious! And I don’t even like cheese. 🙂

  • Reply Tiffany A White May 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Once I am over this gestational diabetes, I am trying both of these!!

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