M. Andrew Gordon

Seared Scallops with Shitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Shallots

In Main Dish, Side Dishes on October 13, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Scallops are an interesting thing to cook, because they seem to call for either a really simple preparation with a light accompaniment with fresh ingredients – think a quick salad of fresh picked tomatoes and herbs dressed with oil andIMG_2938vinegar.  Or, conversely, scallops can stand up to some bold flavors well.  Like bacon, for instance.  It occurred to me that I titled this silly blog “Just Add Bacon” and I have not included bacon in any recipe featured here.  That changes today.

Grabbing some shitake mushrooms at the market, I quickly envisioned the scallops sitting on top of a bed of barely cooked mushrooms and caramelized shallots.  The sweetness of the shallots and the earthiness of the mushrooms would play well off the vibrant flavor of the scallops.  I decided to include the chile pepper only because, as mentioned in previous posts, I can’t seem to pass them up right now.  In fairness, it probably results in a dish that is a little spicy, so for those not interested in heat, I’d replace the chile pepper in this dish with red bell pepper.  The bacon would anchor the flavors here, imparting smokiness into the shallots and lending some texture with the crispy bacon sprinkled over the scallops.

The potato side dish here is probably not something I completely created; I’m nearly positive I first saw something quite similar somewhere.  But since this is not a rigorous academic writing but an amateur attempt at blogging, I am not going to waste my time trying to figure out where I might have come across a recipe like this.  Point is, the smashed potatoes are really easy to make and give a simple roasted potato just a little dressing up.  I really like the texture it creates where parts of the potato get crispy, almost like a homefries.

Pairing: A little short on the beer front tonight (I know, please relax, everything is okay), so I tried pairing a Shipyard IPA with this.  Not ideal; this is a fairly easy, hoppy beer but it was still a little much for the dish.  To stick with the Shipyard theme, I think the Chamberlain Pale or even an Old Thumper might have been a better option had they been sitting in the fridge.

I realize after looking at these photos that I need to address the serving dishes; it always seems that the plate overwhelms the food.  I can assure you this is not the case when eating, however.

Seared Scallops with Shitake Mushrooms and Caramelized ShallotsIMG_2935

Serves 2

  • ½ lb sea scallops, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 thick slice of bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 small, mild red chile pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ lb shitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Combine pepper, salt, and chile powder and stir together.  Dip each end of the scallop in the mixture and set aside.
  2. Heat medium skillet and cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Drain bacon on paper towel and pour out all but one tablespoon of fat.
  3. Add butter to skillet and melt, cooking over low heat until butter becomes light brown.  Turn up heat to medium.  Add shallots and diced chile, stirring until shallots start to caramelize, about 5 or 6 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook for a minute.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In separate non-stick skillet, heat olive oil.  Add scallops and cook until opaque, about two minutes per side.
  6. Spoon some of the shallot and mushroom mixture on plate, top with scallops, and sprinkle with sea salt and reserved bacon.

Smashed Red PotatoesIMG_2947

Serves 2

  • 8-10 small-medium red bliss potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400° F.  Coat potatoes in 2 tablespoons of the  olive oil and place in baking dish.  Roast for 20 minutes, or  until potatoes are easily pricked with fork.
  2. Heat remaining olive oil in heavy skillet.  Place potatoes in skillets and smash with either another heavy skillet or a potato masher.  Season with salt and pepper and flip, cooking until edges become crispy and golden.

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