I really wasn’t planning to make scallops tonight.

I had seen a recipe for scallops in the aforementioned copy of La Cucina Italiana Magazine and thought it sounded good, but that was about as far as I had gotten with it.  However, walking through the local Wegman’s this morning, I spied a pile of fresh scallops that immediately called my name.  Within moments, I had 8 U-10 scallops in my cart. U-10 refers to the size – U stands for under and the ten is the number per pound – so they are ten or less per pound by weight.  Big scallops.

I came home, made my rolls, and then glanced at the scallop recipe.  Ooops!  The recipe called for them to be atop a celery root puree.  And wouldn’t you know it – I was fresh out of celery root.  But I had lentils.  A recipe was born!

Scallops and Lentils

The Lentils:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • salt and pepper

The Scallops:

  • fresh scallops
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

The Crumbs:

  • Fresh bread crumbs
  • walnuts
  • butter

To make the lentils:

Mince bacon in a food processor.  Place in 2-quart saucepan and cook until nicely browned.  Mince carrot, celery, garlic, and onion, and add to bacon and cook until vegetables are wilted.

Add lentils, tomatoes, water, and a pinch of S&P.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 35 minutes – or until lentils are tender.  Check water and add more, as necessary.

To make the scallops:

Heat large skillet with a small amount of olive oil.  Pat scallops dry and add to skillet.  Cook over fairly high heat about 3 minutes per side.

To make the crumbs:

Blend walnuts and bread in food processor until chopped but still with some texture. Melt butter in a small skillet and brown bread and walnut mixture.

To assemble:

Ladle lentils into a shallow bowl, add scallops and top with crumbs.

I was really happy with how this came out.  The scallops were perfectly tender, the lentils were really flavorful, and the crumbs added a perfect crunch.  It seems like a lot of work, but it really took no time, at all.

I can see a lot of variations on this one – including the celery root!