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Spring Leeks, Scallops and a Sunday

After all my talk about how hot it had become in Philadelphia, we were treated to much cooler weather this weekend. On Saturday, we headed over to Northern Liberties to support a local food bloggers bake sale and the farmers market at the Piazza. During our travels, we ended up checking out some open houses for fun and stopping by our favorite NoLib spot – Honey Sit & Eat.

I picked up a beautiful bunch of leeks at the farmers market and decided to top off the weekend with one of Ryan’s all-time favorites – scallops. Scallops and leeks are a perfect marriage for Springtime — even if the temps are in the 50s today! My husband claimed that this is one of the very best meals I’ve ever made. In fact, he went as far to say “if I have a stroke I want you to feed this to me to bring me back.”

Leeks are a root vegetable and have a more subtle and sweet flavor compared to garlic and onion. Locally grown leeks can finally be found at your local farmers market or at the Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market.

Note: The scallop and leeks recipe serves two, but I always make a big batch of polenta for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. I served the meal with a baguette and some Montegrappa cheese from Italy. (Will add pics of the final result once my camera stops holding them hostage).

Seared Scallops & Leeks with Cheesey Polenta (for two)


  • 1/2 pounds jumbo sea scallops
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3  medium leeks (white and light green parts), quartered lengthwise and rinsed well
  • 1  lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

1. Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
3. Wipe out skillet and return to medium-low heat. Add the remaining oil and the leeks and toss. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
4. Return the scallops to skillet to rewarm.  Squeeze lemon juice over top and serve over cheesey polenta (below).

Creamy Cheesey Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated. Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Finish by stirring in the cheese and salt to taste.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Fran LaSpada #

    Scallops are a definite favorite of mine and never thought of combining with Cheesy Polenta. Gotta try it.

    April 19, 2010

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