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Scallops with Swiss Chard and Polenta


Scallops with Swiss chard or bok choy and polenta is a striking dish worthy of company. Slivers of garlic and ginger provide a balanced flavor for the Swiss chard. Be sure to buy dry scallops, not the ones with water added, which will prevent the scallops from browning. To get a nice brown crust on the scallops, dry them off first with a paper towel.



2 tablespoons Filippo Berio olive oil

2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers

1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers

1 pound Swiss chard, washed, ends trimmed and cut coarsely

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound dry sea scallops

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Salt to taste

2 cups prepared polenta, about half of the recipe given below, skipping the final step



Polenta, or cornmeal cooked in milk or water, is to be found in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, the Trentino, and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Polenta requires constant vigorous stirring to achieve its characteristic smooth consistency.

4 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups coarsely ground cornmeal

In a large heavy pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt. Add the cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring vigorously all the while with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture thickens and begins to leave the side of the pan, about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the coarseness of the cornmeal.

Immediately pour the polenta onto a lightly oiled wooden board or platter. Let it cool for 15 minutes, then cut into slices. Serve with the sauce of your choice or in place of bread, noodles, or lasagna.


Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the garlic and ginger and cook slowly over medium heat until they begin to brown. Stir in the Swiss chard, first cooking the stems for a few minutes covered before adding the leaves, which will not take as long. If the pan seems dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. When the stems are cooked, transfer the Swiss chard to a bowl, cover and keep warm.

Return the pan to the stove top; add the olive oil and when it is hot, add the scallops in a single layer and cook them until they are nicely browned on one side. Turn them over and cook the other side. Sprinkle the scallops with salt. Transfer the scallops to a dish and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan; scrape up any bits in the pan; stir in the lemon juice and blend well. Lower the heat and return the scallops to the pan with any pan juices that have accumulated. Stir the scallops quickly to reheat them.

Make a puddle of polenta in the middle of each of 4 dinner plates. Divide the Swiss chard among the plates, placing it on top of the polenta. Divide and top the Swiss chard with the scallops. Serve immediately.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1991.

This recipe is featured in show 1722, Scallops As You Like Them — Cappesante a Piacere.


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