Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

Inspiration: Whenever I’m out eating somewhere, I always take note of things that I love. At a restaurant here in town a few months back, I ordered scallops that were coated in cumin and blackened, and I really enjoyed them. While in Austria, one of my dishes came with a side of tiny cubes of roasted zucchini and peppers, and B and I both thought that the vegetables tasted amazing. One of my favorite new ways to cook is to store up little odds and ends that I enjoy from other places, and then throw them into my own meals at home.

What we Loved: I thought that the flavors and textures of this dish all combined really well. I loved the mixture of the creamy, pepperjack polenta with the crispy roasted flavor of the vegetables and the soft cumin scallops. The vegetables added a surprising amount of flavor to the meal, which I was really happy about. All together, this meal was really great for a healthy summer evening.

Helpful Hints: I always think that the most important thing about cooking scallops is to make sure that you don’t overcook them. If they’re overcooked, they end up getting really stiff and rubbery, and to me, it ruins the meal. When searing the scallops for this dish, they only need about 2 minutes per side. My biggest piece of advice is to take the scallops off of the heat just when you’re starting to question if they’re done yet. They will be!

Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
Source: Original Recipe

For the scallops
8 sea scallops
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the polenta
1 cup polenta
3 cups water
2-3 oz cubed pepperjack cheese

For the Vegetables
1 small zucchini, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the zucchini and red pepper on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, spreading the vegetables in an even layer. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until browned, flipping the vegetables a few times for even cooking.

2. Meanwhile, add the water to a medium saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan often. When the polenta is done, add the pepperjack cheese, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm until serving.

3. Mix together the flour, cumin, chili powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Dip each side of the scallops into the mixture. Heat a stainless steel saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Wait until the oil starts to smoke, then add the scallops. To allow the crust to form, do not move the scallops once you’ve placed them in the pan. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, flip the scallops after approximately 2 minutes. The scallops should release from the pan when they are ready to be flipped. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side.

4. Serve the vegetables and the scallops atop the polenta.

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4 thoughts on “Cumin-Crusted Scallops over Pepperjack Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

  1. This looks so fantastic!! I’ve never put scallops with southwestern flavors before (not sure why I haven’t becuase this looks awesome), but I think I will have to give this a try!!

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