Let’s be honest, whilst scallops are utterly delicious, they aren’t the most substantial of meals. The soft and creamy seafood texture often shines when it served with something else. But what to serve with scallops? Well, today we are going to answer that question and give you some great ideas for dishes that go wonderfully well with scallops.
Best Scallops Side Dishes
Ok, hands up if you don’t like bacon? No one, exactly! Bacon contains a couple of elements that work fantastically with scallops. It is salty, and as you’ll already know salt is a real flavor booster. When bacon is cooked just right it also takes on an ever so slight sweetness. You’ll see amongst some of our other suggestions for what to serve with scallops that there is a sweet element. If you wrap your scallops in bacon and bake them on medium heat, you’ll find that the bacon acts as a kind of blanket, keeping the scallops super juicy.
2. Lemon Risotto
It’s no secret that most seafood is improved with a squeeze of lemon. Look at how you are supposed to eat oysters! When citrus is cooked it softens and can bring out the flavours in scallops. This lemony taste also works well with risotto, which will also be very filling. Risotto is supposed to be slightly creamy, just like scallops, making it a great pairing.
3. Butternut Squash
Scallops can be served with or without their ‘roe’, the orange sac that can sometimes accompany them. If you prefer them without you might find that they can look a little bland and forlorn. Why not pep them up with a splash of orange color? Looks aside butternut squash is really easy to make. Just roast in the oven with some butter and maybe a pinch of sugar, until golden and caramelized.
4. Chorizo and Corn
Corn will add a splash of color to your plate, and just as with our bacon suggestion, the salty sweetness of the chorizo will bring out all the wonderful flavor of the scallops whilst making your dish even richer. You need corn, chorizo and nothing else. Fry thinly sliced chorizo over high heat until it releases its colorful oils and then add a couple of handfuls of fresh corn kernels. Fry until the corn is cooked and serve alongside a few freshly cooked scallops.
5. Grilled Vegetables
Scallops are a quality ingredient, and the last thing you want to do is overpower them with something too rich or strong. Grilled vegetables are easy to make, make a plate look beautiful and are mild enough in flavor that they will keep your wonderful scallops as the centre of attention.
6. Spinach and Pomegranate Salad
Scallops are quite rich. What better way to cut through the buttery sweetness than with something light and refreshing. Pomegranate seeds are like little red jewels bursting with zesty flavor, the acidity and slight bitterness of the spinach will also work perfectly. Combine the two and you have a great mix. Two or three seared scallops over a bed of spinach bedecked with glinting seeds? What could be better?
7. Brussel Sprouts with Rich Lemon Sauce
You’ve got the best of all worlds in this recipe. Brussel Sprouts, when roasted, take on a slightly bitter note, the saltiness of either bacon or pancetta counterbalances the mild flavor of the scallops, and everyone knows that lemon works really well with seafood. To make this dish slice Brussel sprouts and toss with a little olive oil and seasoning. Bake for around 30 minutes in a hot oven. Once they are starting to go soft and all caramelized remove them from the oven and squeeze the juice of a lemon, and stir in some butter. Crumble crispy pancetta over the top. Luxury
8. Mango Salsa
Mango is the perfect blend of sweet and sour. It is great in sorbets because it really refreshes your palate, and if it works in sorbets it will work with seafood. Scallops are a light dish and if you are looking to keep it light, consider making a quick and simple salsa. The bright yellow of the mango will brighten up the plate, for some contrasting color you can consider adding a few spoonfuls of chopped avocado. Add red onion and a squeeze of lime juice, let sit for around 30 minutes and then enjoy.
9. Lemon Caper Pasta
You aren’t looking to overpower the taste of the scallops, after all, they are the centerpiece of the dish. Pasta is relatively mild in taste and soaks up other flavors making it a perfect side for scallops. With this dish, you are adding two things that always work well with seafood. Capers feature strongly in tartare sauce.
They are lightly pickled and this acidity cuts through the richness of any fish or seafood. Lemon is a surefire way to enliven anything seafood dish and gives it a light and refreshing taste. If you do decide to make this accompaniment for scallops use a fine pasta to stop it becoming a little too overbearing.
10. Buttered Polenta
As we’ve said you want your scallops to be the centre of attention. Polenta is hearty, tasty and really easy to make. To make it tasty add butter. Not just a knob, but some melted butter that you have slowly simmered until it has gone brown and taken on a real nutty flavor. You can spice your polenta up in other ways too. A spoonful or two of maple syrup gives it a new depth and a really rich taste
11. Tuscan Beans
Now we aren’t talking about just serving the beans boiled all on their own, that would be so boring. No, we are talking about making beans with a real European flair that gives images of sitting on a square with a cool glass of wine in your hand and a plate full of beans and scallops.
Make a quick and easy sauce by gently frying garlic in olive oil. Feel free to add a thinly sliced chili pepper and a few fresh basil leaves to crisp up. Add a splash of white wine to the pan and cook until the alcohol has burned off, then toss in a couple of handfuls of beans to soak up all that lovely flavor.
12. Browned shallots and mashed potato
This dish is so easy to make. Potatoes are filling and are a blank canvas for other flavors. You can make your mashed potatoes super-indulgent by cooking them in the normal manner and then adding a splash of heavy cream after mashing. For a nice touch, finely chop a shallot (or finely slice a small white onion) and cook it slowly over a low to medium heat in a generous spoonful of butter. Once they are a light brown color, tip your shallots along with the butter into your mashed potato and mix well.
Couscous is fresh and light. Provided you make it in the right way of course. The trick with couscous is not to mess around with it too much and measure your ingredients, otherwise, you are going to end up with a thick and clumpy mess. You can accessorize couscous in several ways. For a fresh, summery taste, add things like pomegranate seeds and maybe a squeeze of lemon. For an Indian vibe, a small pinch of curry powder and a handful of sultanas or raisins transforms this dish into something that will work well with scallops.
If you are rich or just really hungry you could consider serving steak with scallops. It’s an upper-class version of surf n’ turf. If you like your steak medium or even rarer you’ll find that the scallops benefit from a little soak in the meat juices whilst they sit on your plate. Choose flavours with your steak that will go well with seafood. A little lemon juice and butter makes a great glaze for a steak and scallops alike.
15. Creamed Corn Puree
Corn is simple food, but when you make creamed corn it takes on luxurious quality. It is really rich, filling and most importantly tasty. You can incorporate other elements such as roasted broccoli or add some baked parsnips before making the puree if you want even more sweetness. Try and think of it as a thick soup.
16. Cauliflower Puree
If you are being health conscious then you’ll have probably tried cauliflower rice, this is similar, it is just blitzed after cooking instead of before. Cauliflower has slightly sulfurous undertones that work so well with scallops. If you want to jazz it up slightly try roasting the cauliflower after boiling until it gets a slight char. Feel free to add other things to your puree, like a handful of toasted pine nuts. One really nice addition is to fry some sage in butter until it goes crispy and then stir this into your puree.
17. Jalapeno Poppers
Not always an obvious choice but jalapeno poppers are an incredible dish and some you should consider when deciding on what to serve with scallops. They’re quick and easy to make and will be the perfect pairing as a scallop side dish.
Well, if you have read our list you should have a really good idea as to what to serve with scallops. Generally, you will want to pick flavors that are still tasty but don’t beat the scallops into submission. Any dish involving lemons will work very well, the same goes for anything which has a slightly bitter or sour note, such as most fruits. Remember, don’t overcook your scallops either! Whatever you choose to serve, we hope it is delicious. Enjoy!