Scallops and Grits

I had never heard of grits until I moved to North Carolina, and once I had, the name and appearance suggested that it might just be wet sand and I did not try to eat any for many years. For any other Yankees out there, grits are ground corn cooked into a porridge, traditionally eaten at breakfast. It can be served plain, with cheese, or dressed up, most often as shrimp and grits.

Ultimately I did come around to grits and have enjoyed keeping a box in the pantry. Whitney will prepare a grits dish for breakfast every now and then, most often with a fried egg and whatever assortment of vegetables we have on hand (especially avocado, tomato, green onion), cheese, and for a special treat, bacon (like this one). Sometimes though we will feature grits in a dinner entree, such as with this shrimp and grits recipe, or the scallops and grits featured today.

There's no real surprises here; it's pretty much shrimp and grits, with the shrimp replaced with seared scallops that we love so much. We followed a recipe from The Chew that included parmesan, mascarpone, and yellow onions, and it turned out great! We served it with a kale salad.

Scallops and Grits from ABC's The Chew
   For Grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups polenta (we substituted quick cooking grits)
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
   For Scallops
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds nantucket bay scallops (cleaned) (we substituted sea scallops)
1/2 lemon, juiced

To make the Polenta: In a 4-quart saucepan add the stock and bring to a simmer. Season the stock with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slowly add the polenta while whisking and reduce the heat to low. Cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone, Parmesan and 4 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt.

When Ready to Serve: Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent and aromatic, 5 minutes. Blot the scallops dry on paper towels then season with salt. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook it until it starts to become brown, bubbly and nutty smelling. Add the seasoned scallops and cook until just barely cooked through and light golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir in the parsley.

To Serve: Spoon some polenta into a bowl, top with some bay scallops and a drizzle of brown butter.

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