Monday, January 14, 2013

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Pea Purée and Prosciutto Bits

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Pea Purée and Prosciutto Bits

If you've ever watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen, you've probably seen Chef Ramsay scream at a contestant for improperly cooked scallops. I shyed away from cooking them for a long time because I heard they were easily overcooked.

One day at the supermarket, I finally got the courage to purchase them after I saw they were at a reasonable price. Also, I had recently ate scallops at a local restaurant but was a little disappointed and I wondered if I could prepare them better.

The Challenge

Properly prepare a scallops dish at home using a fine dining presentation.

The Source

I took inspiration from a recipe I found from an Australian cooking show, My Kitchen Rules, but with a few substitutions. First, I substituted the prosciutto crumbs for a simpler prosciutto bits recipe which can be found on page 25 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking by Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher, using a portion of the prosciutto my friends brought me the afternoon I served my crab ravioli dish. In addition, I substituted a pea purée for the parsnip purée. The recipe is courtesy of Chef Robert Dasalla, executive chef and co-owner of Little Chef Counter in the San Pedro Market Square of San Jose, California.


For the proscuitto:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces prosciutto, preferably from the shank, finely minced or ground on medium

For the pea purée:
2 cups English peas (frozen or fresh)
1 stick butter
1 sprig tarragon
2 tablspoons water if using fresh peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the scallops:
1 pound sea scallops
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Make the prosciutto bits: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring. The proscuitto should emit steam, as it's releasing it's moisture. Once the proscuitto starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until the prosciutto are crisp, up to thirty minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with several layers of paper towels.

2. While the prosciutto is crisping, prepare the pea purée. In a saucepan combine the peas, butter and tarragon and cook covered and set on high. Check every 5 minutes until the peas tender.

Once tender remove the tarragon sprig but leaving any loose leaves. Strain and save the liquid.

Add peas to a blender and begin to purée and gradually add the saved liquid until smooth. Discard any remaining liquid or if more liquid is needed add olive oil. Add olive oil to the purée to give it a shine. Taste and season if needed. Pass the purée through a Chinois or a fine mesh strainer for a more refined appearance.

3. Cook the scallops: Pat the scallops dry and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook for 1 minute on each side. To plate, spoon the purée across the plate, top with the scallops, then garnish with the prosciutto.


In all honesty, I was happier with the prosciutto and the peas than I was with the scallops, as I added the butter to hot oil (instead of melting the butter in the oil), so the scallops didn't sear the way I would have preferred. A contributing factor in this was I used frozen scallops. Mrs. Stuntman was very pleased with this dish and, in fact, has requested I prepare it again.


  1. I'm not a fan of scallops but props to trying something new! The pea puree looks delicious! I have been wanting to try one forever...and of course, you can never go wrong with prosciutto :)

  2. I'm w/ Mrs. Stuntman. The dish looks divine!

  3. Looks and sounds perfect! I'm glad you conquered your fear!

  4. Gordon direbbe: OK! ahahahaah...non sono Gordon , ma amo questo piatto!

  5. I love scallops. One of my favorite treats. The pea puree looks great with them.

  6. Pea puree is such a great combination with seafood, great call! It looks like your dish turned out very good, I will definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy Valley Chow

  7. I love scallops! So happy I came across your blog on Twitter. . I totally hear you on the scallops. . they are expensive so you want to get it right. Next time, I would definitely buy fresh scallops . . this dish still looks great but that might help with the searing that you mentioned. - Alice @HipFoodieMom1

  8. I LOVE this combo! I just made a seared scallops with pea and walnut pesto recipe for a cooking class recently!! (You have great taste!) ;)

  9. scallops look awful

    1. Check the update:


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