Scallops and Pancetta

Scallops & Pancetta (Recipe)

Scallops and pancetta are a match made in culinary heaven. This easy and flavorful recipe brings together the delicate seared scallops and the crispy pancetta for a dish that will wow your taste buds.

The scallops are meticulously pan-seared to perfection, resulting in a golden crust that gives way to a tender, buttery interior. The pancetta, with its savory and salty flavor, adds the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the scallops.

Whether you’re looking for a show-stopping appetizer or a main course that will impress, scallops and pancetta won’t disappoint. With minimal effort, you can create a restaurant-quality dish that will have your guests asking for the recipe.

Key Takeaways:

  • Scallops and pancetta create a harmonious combination of flavors.
  • The searing process gives scallops a delicate texture.
  • Pancetta adds a crispy and savory element to the dish.
  • This recipe is perfect for both appetizers and main courses.
  • Scallops and pancetta are easy to cook and will impress guests.

The Delicate and Tender Texture of Scallops

Scallops are a type of shellfish and belong to the bivalve mollusk family, along with clams, oysters, and mussels. There are different varieties of scallops, but the most common are bay scallops and sea scallops.

Scallops have a delicate and tender texture, and after a quick pan-sear, they become sweet and tender. Sea scallops are the star of this recipe, and their pale pink or light beige color and soft texture make them perfect for cooking.

Ingredients for the Perfect Scallops and Pancetta Dish

To make this scallops and pancetta dish, you will need the following ingredients:

Ingredients Description
Sea scallops Make sure to purchase large sea scallops with a pale pink or light beige color and a soft texture.
Gremolata A garnish made with parsley, lemon zest, and shallot.
Pancetta Salt-cured pork belly that is diced and cooked in olive oil.
Pea Puree Made with thawed sweet peas, garlic, shallot, and chicken broth, blended into a smooth puree.

Tips for Cooking Perfect Scallops

Cooking scallops at home doesn’t have to be intimidating. By following these simple tips, you can achieve perfectly cooked scallops with a golden crust:

  1. Pat the scallops dry: Before cooking, make sure to pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. This removes excess moisture from the surface, allowing for better browning.
  2. Use a hot skillet: For pan-searing scallops, it’s best to use a hot skillet, preferably cast iron. The high heat helps create a beautiful sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
  3. Give them space: When placing the scallops in the skillet, make sure to give them enough space. Overcrowding the pan can lead to steaming instead of searing, resulting in a less desirable texture.
  4. One side at a time: To achieve a golden crust, sear the scallops on the first side without touching or moving them. This allows for proper caramelization and enhances the flavor.
  5. Remove immediately: Once the scallops are cooked to your liking (usually around 2-3 minutes per side), remove them from the skillet immediately. This prevents overcooking and keeps them tender.

By following these tips, you can elevate your scallop-cooking skills and create restaurant-quality dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Scallops Cooking Time and Temperature Guide

Scallop Size Cooking Time Cooking Temperature
Large Sea Scallops 2-3 minutes per side Medium-high heat (around 375°F or 190°C)
Small Bay Scallops 1-2 minutes per side Medium heat (around 350°F or 175°C)

Serving Suggestions for Scallops and Pancetta

The scallops and pancetta dish is delicious on its own, but if you want to add some side dishes to make it a complete meal, consider serving it with creamed peas or a side salad.

Some crusty bread can also be served to mop up the pea puree. For a dinner party, this dish pairs well with roast beef, rack of lamb, or crown roast of pork.

Side Dishes for Scallops:

  • Creamed peas: A smooth and creamy side dish made with fresh or frozen peas, butter, and cream. The sweetness of the peas complements the rich flavors of the scallops and pancetta.
  • Side salad: A light and refreshing salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and your choice of dressing. The crispness of the salad provides a contrast to the tender scallops.
  • Crusty bread: Serve some slices of crusty bread alongside the scallops and pancetta to soak up the flavors of the dish and add a satisfying crunch to each bite.

When hosting a dinner party, consider complementing the scallops and pancetta with a main course that will enhance the overall dining experience. Here are a few options that pair well with this dish:

  1. Roast beef: The savory flavors of a perfectly cooked roast beef make it an ideal pairing for the scallops and pancetta. The richness of the beef enhances the flavors of the dish.
  2. Rack of lamb: Tender and juicy, a rack of lamb brings elegance and sophistication to the table. Its delicate flavors complement the scallops and pancetta beautifully.
  3. Crown roast of pork: A show-stopping centerpiece, a crown roast of pork adds a touch of grandeur to any special occasion. Its succulent meat pairs well with the savory pancetta and sweet scallops.

Scallops and Pancetta for Special Occasions

When celebrating a special occasion or gathering with loved ones during the holiday season, it’s important to create a memorable dining experience. That’s where the exquisite combination of scallops and pancetta comes in.

This special occasion dish is not only visually stunning but also bursting with complex and delightful flavors that are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests.

The succulent sea scallops, with their delicate and tender texture, pair perfectly with the savory and crispy pancetta. Seared to perfection, the scallops develop a golden crust that adds a beautiful contrast to their soft and buttery interiors.

Coupled with the salty and flavorful pancetta, every bite of this dish is a delightful explosion of taste.

Not only does this dish tantalize the taste buds, but it also boasts an elegant presentation that will elevate any dinner party or holiday feast.

Imagine your guests’ faces lighting up as they savor each mouthwatering bite of this show-stopping dish. It’s the perfect way to create a sense of luxury and sophistication, making your special occasion truly unforgettable.

Ingredients for the Scallops and Pancetta Dish

Ingredients Quantity
Sea Scallops 1 lb
Pancetta 4 oz
Gremolata 1/4 cup
Pea Puree 1 cup

Optional: Serve with creamed peas or a side salad and crusty bread to complement the flavors of the dish.


  1. Prepare the gremolata by combining fresh parsley, lemon zest, and shallot in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cook the diced pancetta in a skillet with olive oil until crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, sear the sea scallops over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Spread the pea puree on a serving plate. Arrange the seared scallops on top of the puree.
  5. Sprinkle the crispy pancetta and gremolata over the scallops.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

With this recipe, you can create a memorable and mouthwatering special occasion dish that will impress your guests with its stunning presentation and irresistible flavors.

Whether it’s a holiday gathering or an intimate celebration, scallops and pancetta are the perfect combination to make your occasion truly special.

Alternative Variations of Scallops and Pancetta

If you can’t find pancetta or prefer a different flavor, you can try making this dish with bacon or prosciutto instead. Both options will add a delicious saltiness to the scallops.

Bacon-wrapped Scallops

To make bacon-wrapped scallops, simply wrap each scallop with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick before cooking.

The bacon adds a smoky and savory element that complements the sweetness of the scallops. The combination of crispy bacon and tender scallops creates a mouthwatering bite that is sure to impress.

Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops

Another alternative to pancetta is prosciutto. Prosciutto is a thinly sliced Italian dry-cured ham that has a delicate and slightly sweet flavor.

To make prosciutto-wrapped scallops, wrap each scallop with a slice of prosciutto and secure with a toothpick.

The prosciutto adds a unique and sophisticated touch to the dish, enhancing the overall taste and presentation.

Whether you choose bacon or prosciutto, these alternative variations of scallops and pancetta will still deliver a flavorful and satisfying dish. Feel free to experiment and find the combination that suits your taste buds best.

Scallop Variation Description
Bacon-wrapped Scallops Scallops wrapped in crispy bacon slices, adding a smoky flavor to the dish.
Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops Scallops wrapped in thinly sliced prosciutto, providing a delicate and slightly sweet taste.


What is the texture of scallops?

Scallops have a delicate and tender texture that becomes sweet and tender after a quick pan-sear.

What type of scallops are used in this recipe?

Sea scallops, specifically large ones with a pale pink or light beige color and a soft texture.

What is gremolata?

Gremolata is a garnish made with parsley, lemon zest, and shallot.

What is pancetta?

Pancetta is a salt-cured pork belly that is diced and cooked in olive oil.

How do I make pea puree?

Pea puree is made by blending thawed sweet peas, garlic, shallot, and chicken broth until smooth.

What are tips for cooking perfect scallops?

Tips include patting the scallops dry, using a hot skillet, giving them enough space to sear, searing on the first side without touching them, and removing them from the skillet immediately after cooking.

What are some side dishes that go well with scallops and pancetta?

Creamed peas, side salad, and crusty bread can be served alongside the scallops and pancetta dish.

What types of occasions is this dish suitable for?

This dish is perfect for special occasions and holiday gatherings, as it has an elegant presentation and complex flavors that will impress your guests.

Can I use bacon or prosciutto instead of pancetta?

Yes, bacon or prosciutto can be used as alternatives to pancetta. For bacon-wrapped scallops, wrap each scallop with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick before cooking.

What is the overall appeal of scallops and pancetta?

Scallops and pancetta create a harmonious combination of flavors in this recipe. The tender and delicate texture of the scallops pairs perfectly with the salty and flavorful pancetta.

This dish is easy to make and is a great choice for impressing guests at any dinner party or special occasion.


Scallops and pancetta create a harmonious combination of flavors in this recipe. The tender and delicate texture of the scallops pairs perfectly with the salty and flavorful pancetta.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or celebrating a special occasion, this dish is sure to impress your guests.

Not only does this recipe offer an exquisite flavor profile, but it is also incredibly easy to make. With just a few ingredients and simple cooking techniques, you can create a luxurious and delicious meal that will leave everyone wanting more.

If you’re looking to elevate your culinary skills and impress your loved ones with a show-stopping dish, look no further than this scallops and pancetta recipe. The combination of flavors, textures, and presentation will make it a memorable experience for all.

So why not give this recipe a try? Treat yourself and your guests to a truly indulgent meal that showcases the best of scallops and pancetta. You won’t be disappointed!

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