Grilled scallops are covered in fresh rosemary and placed atop a pillow of creamy Gruyère polenta. This is backyard barbecue at the next level. For the seafood haters, we’ll have grilled lamb chops to grace the polenta, too. Don’t you fret.
There’s this panic that’s sort of lurking in the background, almost like a lump in my throat. The house that never seems to be picked up is, and yet I still focus on all the things that still need to be and should be done like vacuuming up a stray crushed peanut, spread through the living room by small, unexacting hands.
The lull of summer is coming, I can feel it, if only I can make it through the week.
Then after this week there’s camp and baseball and a parade the kids will walk in looking sweet and wearing their matching t-shirts. The next week is full, too, and I’m starting to wonder where the lull is running off to.
One day at a time.
It’s dinnertime, with a to-do list still mounded on the desk and several projects all in some state of completion but nothing quite there yet. Rather than being planned and prepared, I’ve been pondering all day about the food in the fridge. A neighbor stops in to say a quick hello that lasts more than the five minutes we both probably thought it would, the light is waning and the night slipping away.
Not wanting to give up on having a decent meal just because time is short and summer days have a way of getting away from you, there will be polenta and scallops tonight. Dinner will on the table in 25 minutes, small bellies will be full and sent to run in the yard with still a bit of light left in the day.
Start with the prep. It involves getting four cups of water boiling while you grate cheese and mince a bit of rosemary. Grating cheese by hand builds character. Once the water boils, slowly whisk in one cup of cornmeal. Mine happens to be yellow.
Lower the heat and simmer, stirring every once in a while for about 15 to 20 minutes.
While your polenta is cooking, we have the business of making scallops. First, toss them in some extra virgin olive oil and that rosemary you minced earlier.
Toss them on a searing-hot grill and flip them after 90 seconds or so to the next side. Another minute and they’re ready to come off, get wrapped in foil and rest for a bit. Your polenta should be about finished at this point as well.
To finish off the polenta, a bit of butter (Kerrygold, of course) and Gruyère are melted in.
Scallops top the polenta, and we’re ready to eat. Do you have any favorite last-minute summer meals for those days when the sun seems to make everything but time take longer than it should?
4 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 sprig rosemary
1 cup cornmeal polenta
3 tablespoons butter
5 ounces Gruyère, shredded
For the scallops:
1 pound fresh sea scallops
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Preheat grill to 600° F. Place water, salt and rosemary sprig in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and remove rosemary sprig. Slowly pour cornmeal into the water, whisking continuously to remove any lumps. Once all the cornmeal has been incorporated, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
While the polenta is simmering, remove tendons from the scallops. In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add scallops to the bowl and toss lightly to coat. Place scallops on the grill using tongs. They should sizzle as they hit the grill. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to brown lightly. Flip and cook one minute more until just cooked through. Remove from heat and let rest covered with foil for 2 minutes.
Once the polenta has reached a thick and smooth consistency, stir in the butter until melted. Add in the Gruyère a small handful at a time, stirring after each addition to melt. If the polenta seems a bit thick, thin slightly with milk or half and half, adding only 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Serve polenta topped with grilled scallops. Serve.
Makes 4 servings.