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15 March 2009

Scallops with Prosciutto, Sage and White Wine Sauce Served with Wilted Spinach and Grilled Polenta

With this recipe I have tried to recreate an absolutely delicious meal we had on the last day of our honeymoon. We were in Manhattan Beach just near Los Angeles airport and we had this fabulous meal in a tiny restaurant we just happened to walk past. It was a perfect meal to finish our amazing trip.

Try and buy the freshest scallops that you can. The ones I used today unfortunately tasted a little too fishy, which was not ideal. The meal was still lovely however. And don't overcook the scallops as they will become tough. They don't need long at all to cook.

I may keep refining this recipe, so check it for updates. The polenta recipe is from Australian Good Food Magazine (April 2009 issue). In the version I made tonight, I added 2 tablespoons of sage to the polenta, but found it was a bit overpowering, so I have left it out in the recipe below.

I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup instant polenta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
16 scallops cleaned with roe removed
4 slices prosciutto cut in half lengthwise
8 sage leaves halved
150g baby spinach
2 tablespoon olive oil for frying
2 tablespoons butter (at least half must be chilled)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Soak 4 bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

To make the polenta, heat the milk and water in a medium saucepan on high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium. Add polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir for about 5 minutes or until polenta comes away from the side of the pan in one lump. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread the polenta onto a lightly oiled board or baking tray. Smooth until it is about 1 1/2 - 2cm high. Cool at room temperature until firm and set (about 30 minutes).

Thread the scallops, sage and prosciutto onto the skewers. I did this by threading a sage leaf, then adding the prosciutto and scallop. I then added another sage leaf, wrapped the prosciutto around the scallop and back onto the skewer and then repeated the process. I left the prosciutto long so that it would wrap around the scallops. I needed 2 prosciutto strips per skewer. (Not the best description I know, just go with whatever you like.)

Heat a grill pan or fry pan over medium heat with half the olive oil. Cut the cooled polenta into 4 pieces. Fry the polenta for about 5 minutes each side until golden. Set aside and keep warm (I kept them warm in a low oven while I finished the meal).

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the scallop skewers and cook for 30 second to 1 minute on each side (I cooked on all 4 sides so that the prosciutto was well browned). The length of cooking will depend on how big the scallops are. Add the white wine and lemon juice and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, heat half the butter in a large saucepan. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the skewers from the pan and set aside. Whisk the rest of the butter (must be chilled) into the white wine sauce.

Serve the scallop skewers with the spinach and polenta and white wine sauce.

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