White Wine Scallops with Polenta

Succulent seared scallops are the star of this rich, decadent meal. But for all the incredible flavours, there are only seven ingredients, and it’s ready in just over half an hour. You don’t need an occasion to enjoy this dish. But be warned, it can turn any meal into one!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes

  • Cook time: 13–15 minutes

  • Primary ingredient: Scallops

  • Serves: 4 servings

  • Find more: 2-4, 4-6, Dinner


  • 1lb (454 g / 12–20 pcs) Canadian jumbo scallops
  • For the polenta:
  • 2½ cups (625 ml) milk
  • 2½ cups (625 ml) water
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (180 g) instant polenta
  • ¼ cup (20 g) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (optional)
  • 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
  • For the scallops:
  • ½ tsp + ½ tsp (6 g) salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp (56 g) butter, divided
  • 4 pcs garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) lemon zest, finely grated
  • Salt, to taste
  • Garnishes (optional):
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Lemon zest, finely grated


For the polenta

  1. Combine milk, water, and salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slowly add the polenta into the cold liquid while constantly whisking to prevent lumps.

  2. With all the polenta in the saucepan, place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil while stirring until thick and creamy; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, if using, and dot the surface with the butter. Cover to keep warm until needed.

For the scallops

  1. Remove any side muscles from the scallops. Use paper towels to pat scallops completely dry.

  2. Season one side of the scallops with ½ teaspoon (3 grams) of the salt. Carefully flip them over and repeat process with the remaining salt.

  3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the canola oil and heat until shimmering.

  4. Carefully place scallops into the hot pan, spaced about an inch apart. Do not move; cook for 2–3 minutes or until a crust forms. Flip to cook the other side for another 1–2 minutes or until the exterior is opaque; when scallops are gently pressed, they should still give and have a slight bounce.

  5. Transfer scallops immediately to a dish and set aside.

For the sauce

  1. In the same pan you cooked the scallops, add 3 tablespoons (42 grams) of butter over medium heat, gently scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Heat the butter until it begins to turn golden and smells nutty. Add the minced garlic and shallot, and sauté until fragrant; 30 seconds.

  2. Slowly add the white wine to the pan while stirring constantly. Bring the wine to a simmer and simmer until the wine has reduced by about half; 3–5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the lemon zest. Taste and season with salt, if desired.

  4. Remove from heat and add the scallops seared side up into the hot sauce to gently warm through.

To assemble

  1. Stir the melted butter into the polenta.

  2. Portion polenta into dishes. Place 3 to 5 scallops over each serving. Spoon a generous amount of the garlic white wine sauce over the scallops. Sprinkle chives and/or lemon zest over the top. Serve immediately.

Chef's Tips

  • Use frozen Canadian scallops for a convenient option. Thaw overnight in the fridge before proceeding with the recipe.
  • For the best texture, you only need to sear one side of the scallops until beautifully golden, then gently warm the other side. This method ensures a tender, perfectly cooked scallop every time.
  • For a creamier, silkier polenta, add a bit more milk or water until it reaches your preferred consistency.
  • Complement this dish with green vegetables like spinach or asparagus for a balanced meal.
Choose Canadian Seafood White Icon Scallops

Health Benefits of Scallops

  • Fetal Development & Blood Health: Scallops are a source of folate and vitamin B12, which are essential for red blood cell formation and the normal early development of the fetal brain and spinal cord.
  • Energy & Bone Maintenance: As a source of B vitamins, phosphorous, and magnesium, scallops may support energy metabolism, tissue formation, and the maintenance of strong bones and teeth.
  • Immune Support & Antioxidant Protection: As a source of zinc and selenium, scallops may help maintain normal skin, bolster the immune system, and offer potent antioxidant properties to defend against oxidative stress.