This dish uses fresh sea scallops that are quickly pan seared and served with a bacon cream sauce. It is rich and decadent and full of the sweet, seafood flavor that the scallops impart.
Pan Seared Sea Scallops with White Wine Bacon Cream Sauce
I am SUCH a huge seafood fan. Like – crazy big. I could eat seafood many times a week, sushi especially, and not get tired of it. Ever. You can see that in my seafood bisque, easy shrimp scampi pasta, crispy battered halibut, garlic steamed clams, dungeness crab stuffed shells, blackened shrimp pasta, and my homemade crab cakes. Of all the seafood I love, and the list is LONG – a really big, well-cooked sea scallop is totally near the top.
These scallops were big and beautiful, and perfect for this dish. There’s a few key tips to searing sea scallops.
- Start with DRY scallops. Pat them dry with paper towels, and get the surfaces as dry as you can.
- Use a well-seasoned pan, and DON’T TOUCH THEM until they are ready to flip. That’s going to form that awesome crust that are so characteristic of a great scallop.
- Don’t forget the salt. It really brings out the flavor of the scallop and makes it shine!
- Be careful not to overcook. Once they are browned on both sides, they are done. Its normally for the middle to be a bit less than the outsides. That’s okay.
This sauce is amazing too. I actually used cottage bacon which comes from the shoulder of the pig, and is much leaner than typical bacon. I’d never tried it before.
For my breakfasts of bacon and eggs I still prefer the regular style bacon, but for dishes like this, or anything you need crumbled or chopped bacon and want it to stay crisp? That cottage bacon was perfect.
I cooked the bacon first, and then used the leftover grease to sear my scallops in. The cottage bacon was so lean that I needed to add a little extra oil, but not much.
All that stuff on the bottom of the pan? You must leave it there. Cook your scallops over medium heat to make sure the brown bits don’t burn, because those are ALL flavor. See that brown sauce? ALL of that color is from the bottom of the pan from cooking the bacon and scallops. Yum. So add your spinach to the pan right after you remove the scallops, and then toss in your wine.
Add a few tablespoons of butter next.
Once it melts, pour in your cream.
Add in the bacon, and then let that mixture simmer, stirring frequently, until it reduced and tightens up a bit. Then toss in your noodles.
Stir those around, and reduce the heat to low. Taste, and if necessary – add a little salt. Use a light hand though! Depending on how salty your bacon is, this might not need any! I highly suggest unsalted butter as well to account for this.
Serve the pasta with the scallops, and you have a rich, flavorful meal that is nice enough to serve your guests, but easy enough to feel confidant preparing.
- 4 slices cottage bacon
- 8 large sea scallops patted dry
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or canola/vegetable oil - only use if the bacon doesn't produce much grease
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 2 teaspoons garlic
- 1 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 3/4 cup cream
- 8-10 ounces pasta cooked and drained
- Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
- Cook bacon until crisp in a well-seasoned or non-stick pan. Remove bacon from the pan, give it a rough chop, and set aside. If there is excess grease in the pan from the bacon, remove it and leave only about 2 tablespoons, or enough to coat the bottom of your pan liberally. If there isn't much grease left from the bacon, add in enough oil to liberally coat the pan. Seeing a pattern here?
- Place the scallops in the pan, and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side. DON'T MOVE THE SCALLOPS AROUND TOO MUCH! You want them to develop a bit of a crust, and that doesn't happen if you mess with them. Flip once, brown the other side, and the remove from the pan.
- Toss the baby spinach and garlic in the pan, give it a couple stirs, and then add in the white wine and butter.
- After the butter melts, stir in the cream and bacon and let the sauce simmer over low(ish) heat until it is slightly thickened and has tightened up a bit.
- Mix in the cooked pasta, and toss to coat. Taste, and add salt if needed.
- Serve with the scallops, and top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.