In Tuscany the white bean (cannellini) is king, but Venice prefers the variegated pinto or borlotti bean. “We never saw white beans in Venice when I was growing up,” Francesco says. In this dish a puree of the beans becomes the velvety, herb-infused sauce for meaty seared scallops.

scallop bean cream

Sea Scallops with Bean Cream

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (185 g) dried barlotti (cranberry) beans or pinto beans
  • 10 sea scallops
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • Stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • A mix of bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and thyme

Instructions

  • Cover the beans with water to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm) and allow to soak 4 hours or overnight. Drain the beans, place them in a saucepan, and cover with water to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, and bunch of herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In the beginning of the cooking, you may have to skim foam that collects on the surface. When the beans are tender, drain them, reserving about ½ cup (125 ml) of the cooking liquid.
  • Puree all but 1 cup (250 g) of the beans in a food processor with the cooked garlic, carrot, onion, and reserved cooking liquid. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a saucepan and set aside.
  • Slice the scallops in half horizontally. Mix the bread crumbs with the cheese, parsley, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Dust the scallops with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a heavy skillet. Lightly brown the slices of sea scallops in the oil, then transfer them to absorbent paper.
  • Toss the reserved cup of beans in the skillet just enough to reheat them. Reheat the bean sauce.
  • To serve, spoon 5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml) of the bean sauce on each of 4 warm plates.
  • Arrange 5 slices of the scallops, slightly overlapping, in a circle on the sauce.
  • Spoon a few tablespoons of the whole beans in the center, garnish with sprigs of thyme and serve.

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