seared scallops and brussels sprouts with bacon

Our suburban neighborhood is blessed to have a bakery and a fish market within its midst. I try to stay out of the bakery, mostly because the pastries are just too good to resist. The fish market, on the other hand, is a treasure trove of enticing fish and shellfish. We are only about an hour away from the Gulf coast – and some of the best fishing locations in the state – so the market has a regular supply of great fresh seafood.

scallops & brussels sprouts

As I’ve mentioned before here, I’m on a mission to learn to cook things I’ve never cooked before. I’ve never cooked scallops, but I love them, and they draw my eye when I see them in the enclosed glass case in the front of the fish market. I’ve been intimidated by scallops, but this weekend I decided it was time to get over that hurdle. So, while I took my daughter shopping for spring clothes, I sent my husband on an errand to buy scallops.

brussels sprouts, blanched

I found a recipe in Gourmet Today that I thought I’d give a try. After all, the scallops were served over Brussels sprouts with bacon. I mean, what sounds better than that?

brussels sprouts with bacon

The Brussels sprouts were fantastic, as expected. They were tender, with no trace of the bitterness that turns many people off, and the crispy bacon bits added a nice salty, smoky flavor. Searing the scallops was a bit of a challenge for me. I blame my husband for this, for no good reason except that he purchased the scallops and he was standing nearby. However, I managed to accomplish my task. And, although it was not pretty, the sweet scallops were delicious and a great compliment to the Brussels with bacon. And I forgave my husband and all was right with the world.

scallops & brussels sprouts

And before I forget, let’s talk about the wine. No meal is complete without the wine, you know. We paired the scallops and Brussels with this yummy 2005 Chalone Estate Chardonnay, and it was a great combination.

Chalone Estate Grown 2005 Chardonnay

Seared Scallops with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon


1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt
4 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-wide pieces
1 1/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
1 pound sea scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 200 degrees (for warming the Brussels sprouts when done).

Blanch Brussels sprouts in boiling salted water for 2 minutes; drain and set aside.

Cook bacon over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer bacon with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined bowl and reserve rendered bacon fat in another small bowl.

Add 1/3 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cup water to skillet, bring to simmer, and scrape up any brown bits. Add sugar, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and Brussels sprouts to pan; simmer uncovered for 4 minutes. Remove lid and cook over moderately high heat for another 8-12 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and sprouts are tender (to your liking). Stir in bacon, transfer to a platter, and keep warm (covered) in oven.

Wipe skillet clean. Pat scallops dry and season them with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon peper. Heat oil with 2 teaspoons of the reserved bacon fat in the skillet over moderately high heat until the oil/fat begins to smoke. Add scallops and sear, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 4-6 minutes. Transfer to another platter and cover loosely with foil.

Pour off any remaining fat from skillet. Add remaining 1 cup chicken stock, bring to simmer, and scrape up any brown bits. Simmer for one minute. Stir cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a cup, then add to sauce (along with any juices accumulated in scallop platter), and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve scallops over the Brussels and top with sauce.

Slightly adapted from Gourmet Today, and here.

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21 Responses to “ushering in fall: hearty beef and bean chili”

  1. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — October 6, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

    Sounds seriously’s funny as I get older how I like it a bit spicier…so Oliver has some time!

    I made a chili last year for a friendly Super Bowl kickoff; the topping was simply some sour cream with grated lime zest and a bit of lime juice; was just the perfect topping.

  2. SMITH BITES — October 6, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    I like my chili like Madeline – sour cream and cheese AND I always, always add more beans/veg to my chili as well! Can’t wait to make my first pot of the season!

  3. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite — October 6, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    Oh yeah, definitely chili weather – I just posted my fave recipe last week too!! It’s everywhere! I like a bit of homemade guac on my chili along with cheese and sour cream! Gorgeous pictures MJ!

  4. Liz the Chef — October 6, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

    I’ll bet this just tastes better reheated! Happy fall indeed…

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 6th, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

      Liz – Yep, you’re right. I do think it’s better reheated on day 2. Or day 3. 🙂

  5. Nancy@acommunaltable — October 6, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    Hooray that “chili” weather has arrived!! There is seriously NOTHING better than a good bowl of red and a good football game!! It’s a New Year’s day tradition in my family!! I love the addition of the unsweetened cocoa – will have to try that with my next batch of red!!!

  6. Maddie — October 6, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

    I just found your blog recently, and the rich colors of your photos really drew me in. Lovely! I’ll be returning. 🙂

    I’ll have to try making this chili, too…can you believe I’ve never had a bowl of the stuff? But the thermostat’s dropping, so now’s a perfect time for a first try.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 6th, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

      Maddie – Welcome! Yes, you definitely need to try a bowl of chili sometime. It’s pure comfort food. 🙂

  7. Heather — October 7, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

    Heck yeah! Cocoa powder is the ultimate secret ingredient (and key!) in a great chili.

  8. Flavia — October 7, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    This looks wonderful, Merry! I love the addition of the cocoa powder. I make chili every year in our household as well–it’s a fall/winter ritual for us.

  9. Mindy — October 9, 2010 @ 7:49 am

    I make big pots of chili this time of year too. I like to experiment and add interesting things- a little dark chocolate, or chunks of butternut squash. It may not be authentic but it sure is good.

  10. Vanessa — October 10, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    YUM I love some good chili! This sounds perfect for the fall weather.

  11. Chris — October 10, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

    I don’t care if everyone in Texas hates me for saying this, I like beans in my chili.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 10th, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

      I’m with you. Beans in chili are fantastic. 🙂

  12. Sophia — October 11, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    I love chili! Perfect for a cold night! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Champion Chili Recipe Contest! It looks delicious!

  13. Ines — October 11, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    Oh I love this recipe. And, I also cooked it this past weekend. What a coincidence!
    This IS a wonderful recipe although I have had to modify a bit the amount of powder chilli (more cumin, less red chilli, no chipotle except for about 2 teaspoons of the sauce that comes with the chipotles, sugar) so my family can eat it. In addition, I roast the tomatoes and that adds lots of flavor, I think. The chocolate is an excellent idea.

    I also like your tweets, which I follow. Thank you.

  14. ashley — October 23, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

    i made this chili tonight and it was awesome! thanks for sharing!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — October 26th, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

      I’m so happy! Thanks for sharing your results with me, Ashley. 🙂

  15. Courtney — December 12, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    Mmmm I want to try this! Love chili!

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