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Scallops With Peas, Mint and Shallots

Scallops With Peas, Mint and Shallots 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Apr 20, 2021

A vegetable puree is a brilliant idea for creating a quick sauce for a weeknight dinner. This recipe originally called for using water to make the puree, but we made it with heavy cream for a more luxurious feel. We also added a pinch of nutmeg. If you prefer to use water in place of cream to puree the peas, start with 1/4 cup, adding more as needed until the peas are smooth and spoonable. In the time it takes for the peas to blanch, you can prep the mint and shallots and start the bacon. Sear the scallops just before serving.

Check labels and ask your fishmonger for dry scallops, which means fresh ones that are not chemically treated; they will sear properly. Wet scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, a chemical that causes the scallops to expel water when cooked and can prevent a proper sear.

Total time: 35 mins

Storage Notes: Leftover scallops can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups green peas (12 to 14 ounces), fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • Fine sea salt or table salt
  • Finely ground black pepper
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 4 strips bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large shallot (about 2 ounces), minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds dry, large sea scallops (about 20 total), foot muscle removed (see headnote)


In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the peas until bright green and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside 1/2 cup of the peas; transfer the rest to a blender. Blend, drizzling in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream, until thick and creamy. Add the fresh mint leaves, a large pinch of salt, black pepper and nutmeg and blend until completely smooth and spoonable, scraping down the sides of the pitcher, as needed. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and set aside.

Line a plate with a paper towel and place it near the stove. In a large, well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered and it is just starting to crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon to the prepared plate and pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat into a small bowl; reserve the fat.

Add the shallot to the skillet and saute for 30 seconds. Add the reserved peas and bacon. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a bowl, capturing as many bits as you can.

Raise the heat to medium-high, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. When the fat has just started smoking, pat the scallops dry and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, place the scallops in the pan, making sure they do not touch.

Cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms of the scallops are dark golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, carefully turn each scallop and let the other side cook until golden, an additional 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining scallops, adding more bacon fat as needed.

Just before serving, set the saucepan of pea puree over low heat and warm it, stirring once or twice, about 2 minutes.

To serve, spoon the pea puree onto four plates, top each with 4 or 5 scallops and sprinkle with the bacon mixture and fresh mint leaves, if using.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Simple, Beautiful Food” by Amanda Frederickson (Ten Speed Press 2020).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 389

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 23g 35%

Saturated Fat: 11g 55%

Cholesterol: 94mg 31%

Sodium: 838mg 35%

Total Carbohydrates: 19g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 5g

Protein: 27g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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