Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

August 30, 2018 By Cathy — 2 Comments
Fresh summer corn is stirred into a creamy parmesan risotto, studded with pan seared scallops and a drizzle of brown butter sauce in this elegantly simple dish.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

Do you have that one food or dish that you order often, but rarely make at home? For me that’s scallops. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

Scallops are versatile, cook up quickly, are super healthy (80% protein), and readily available, especially over the summer at the shore. They hold up well to sauces, pair nicely with a variety of vegetables, can be stirred into chowders, or perched on pasta. I ordered them in my all-time favorite combo last weekend while out to dinner with friends…scallops with risotto. The dish I had featured an asparagus risotto and a light cream sauce and while the dish was tasty, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite Jersey shore flavors into my version of this dish…kind of a summer send off.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto


Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

There are two things that my family obsesses over during the summer at the shore: Jersey corn and seafood chowder. Corn on the cob cooked on the grill and then slathered in butter is sublime, but I’ll also fold it into salads, make it into a salsa, and puree it into soup. And even though the Jersey shore is in close proximity to Manhattan, we are New England clam chowder people through and through. But chowders at the shore aren’t limited to simply clams. Nope, chunks of fish, scallops, and even epic Jersey corn are folded into that creamy soup. I mean, when in Rome (or slightly west of there)

So how do we incorporate those favorite Jersey shore flavors into our scallops with risotto?

Why with a fresh corn risotto topped with pan seared scallops of course! That’s right. Think seafood corn chowder, decomposed. A simple parmesan risotto is “summer”ized by the addition of fresh summer corn. While the risotto cooks, sear those scallops and finish the dish with nutty brown butter sauce and a sprinkle of thyme. Creamy, briney, buttery, and a just hint of sweet.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

Tips for Perfectly Seared Scallops

  1. Show me that muscle. And then remove it. Sometimes you will find a little tag or muscle attached to the side of the scallop. It’s not the end of the world if you miss it, but it is a bit tough. One quick tug and it’s gone.
  2. Blot like that scallop will be on camera. A damp scallop = a sad dish. Blot those babies with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. This will help with a gorgeous crust and prevent hot oil from spattering all over as you lay the scallops in the pan.
  3. High heat. A sexy scallop has a golden brown crust. Low heat will “steam” the scallops….high heat is your friend here.
  4. Quick cooking time. High heat (see above) means a quick cook. Scallops simply do not need to spend a lot of time on the fire. In fact, less is more. Sear, develop that crust, flip, and done. We’re looking for a tender center and a rough exterior (not dissimilar to my perfect man).

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

Risotto?? (Insert cringe-y face) Have no fear! Tips for risotto nirvana:

  1. Mise en place. This fancy French term translates simply to “everything in it’s place”. Quick culinary school lesson…prep, organize, and then cook. This is especially relevant for risotto which is a time sensitive dish. Prep all of your ingredients before the pan hits the heat.
  2. Rice makes the risotto. I’m riffing off of a good friend’s favorite phrase here (ice makes the party). Risotto requires a short grain rice (such as arborio). It maintains it chew, while creating a creamy texture and holds up to all the stirring.
  3. To warm stock or to cold stock? That should never be the question. First off, warm stock (never cold) promotes even cooking. And no dumping in all at once here. Gradually adding the stock in half cup increments allows the rice to absorb it slowly and is the key to a creamy risotto.
  4. Stir it up. Well yes and no. Yeah, risotto requires stirring to encourage the absorption of the stock, but constantly stirring (and cackling) like a wicked witch stirring her brew, no way! Stir, step away, watch, and stir again. A watchful, but not obsessive, eye here.
  5. To the table we go. Risotto is simply not a make-ahead meal. Plan appropriately and eat immediately. That’s it. Accept and embrace.

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto


Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

Okay…so time to uncork the champagne (and maybe pour a glass while you stir) and celebrate these last bits of summer. I know I’ll be savoring every last bit, Jersey corn cob in hand. Cheers!

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

5 from 1 vote
Close up shot of a serving of seared scallops over creamy fresh corn risotto.
Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Fresh summer corn is stirred into a creamy parmesan risotto, studded with pan seared scallops and a drizzle of brown butter sauce in this elegantly simple dish.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: corn risotto, scallops
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 773 kcal
Fresh Corn Risotto
  • 3 ears corn on the cob
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Pan Seared Scallops
  • 16 sea scallops, patted dry
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (for seasoning)
  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • *shaved parmesan and fresh thyme for serving
Fresh Corn Risotto
  1. Husk the corn and cut the kernels off the cobs, reserving the cobs. (Tip: Place a small bowl inverted into a large bowl and stand one ear of corn up vertically on the bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off in a downward motion.)

  2. Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, add the cobs (not the kernels) and bring the stock to a simmer over low heat.

  3. In a large wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

  4. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and golden, 3-4 mins.

  5. Pour some salt in a small dish near the stove so you can season the risotto throughout the cooking process.

  6. Add the rice to pan and stir well to coat. Toast the rice for about one min and then add the white wine. Cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed.

  7. Add about ¼ cup of warm stock at a time and stir until fully absorbed. Repeat the process, seasoning throughout with salt, until almost all of the liquid is added and absorbed (this will take about 20 mins).

  8. Taste the risotto. You want the rice to be tender, but with a slight bite. Add a little more stock if needed. Stir in the butter.

  9. Next, stir in the thyme and parmesan. Fold in the fresh corn kernels.

Pan Seared Scallops
  1. When the risotto is about halfway through its cooking time, start the scallops. Season the scallops with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. 

  2. Heat the oil over medium/high heat in a large nonstick saute pan until very hot, but not smoking. Add the seasoned scallops and cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 3 mins.

  3. Flip the scallops and finish cooking, about 1-2 mins more. Remove the scallops to a plate and keep warm.

  4. Use a paper towel and wipe out the oil and dripping from the pan. Add the butter, garlic clove and thyme sprigs. 

  5. Cook until the butter is brown and nutty and the foam subsides. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn! 

  6. Reduce the heat and add the scallops to the brown butter sauce and spoon the sauce over the tops of the scallops. Cook until just warmed through.

To Serve
  1. Divide the risotto onto four plates or bowls. Top with four scallops each, drizzle with brown butter sauce, shaved parmesan and sprinkle of fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 773 Calories from Fat 405
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 69%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 103mg 34%
Sodium 691mg 29%
Potassium 646mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 65g 22%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 8g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin A 23.1%
Vitamin C 11.3%
Calcium 9.8%
Iron 20.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto

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Filed Under: Main Dishes, Recipe, Seafood


2 responses to “Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Risotto”

  1. Judy Harris says:

    Just finished your scallop risotto corn recipe
    My husband gave me ultimate compliment by telling me to add it to my signature dishes
    Thanks Kathy

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