Pan Seared Scallops with Scarlet Runner Beans

22nd June, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Light Mains, Starters, easy

A couple Saturdays ago, I was pouring over the beans at Rancho Gordo (don’t I lead a fascinating life?), looking for something new, something I haven’t tried, something fun. Molly asked, “Have you tried the Scarlet Runners? They’re huge and really good.” No, I haven’t. She pointed to the bags, and, of course, I had to bring some home. (Food follows me home the way stray kittens follow kids.)

Where the beautiful, big runner cannellinis (see recipe) leave off, these things start. Dried, they’re about an inch long, deep maroon, speckled with black and purple and tan, and once soaked, gain about 50% in size. Lovely! I spent much of my 45-minute drive home thinking about what I’d do with them. (Yes, when I shake my maraca, you can hear the beans rattling.)

Just look at them! Up there, in the photo! Those are not small scallops, and the beans aren’t exactly dwarfed by them. Have I convinced you? They’re big. And, delicious. They have a wonderful meaty texture, and a firm skin that allows them to keep their shape. Enough about the beans…

The diver scallops are seared to Maillardize their naturally sweet juices, and present some enticing color. If they’re still cool in the centre, they’re cooked just right. Texturally, they harmonize wonderfully with the beans, and the combination of flavors is magical. Enjoy!

Ingredients – Serves four as a starter

  • 3 cups (approx. 1 cup dry) cooked Scarlet Runner beans [1] – drained
  • 8 large (diver) scallops [2]
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp crumbled bleu cheese

Method – About 20 Minutes

Put the beans on to warm in a saucepan over low heat.

Rinse and pat the scallops dry, and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

In a sauté pan over a medium-high flame, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of butter until it just begins to shimmer and the butter is small-bubbling. Sear the scallops to a beautiful medium brown, one to two minutes per side. Transfer to a warm (not hot) plate, and set aside.

Reduce flame to medium, and add the shallots, sautéing until soft and fragrant, about two minutes. WIth the pan off the heat, deglaze with the vermouth, then return to the flame, to cook off some of the alcohol, about two minutes. Add the balsamico, a pinch of salt, smoked paprika, and bring to a, boil, reducing the sauce until it has thickened to coat a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.

Divide the beans to four small plates, and sprinkle with the crumbled bleu cheese. Arrange the scallops and spoon the sauce over them. Serve immediately.


1. The night before you want to serve this, rinse and soak 2 cups of beans in 4 cups of water overnight. In the morning, bring to a boil with enough water to cover by at least 1″ and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Cook until tender, about 90 minutes, and set aside, with the cooking liquid. When ready to serve, simply warm them gently over low heat. These beans are the size of Cleveland, so you’ll only need a few for each plate, but the leftovers are wonderful.

2. Fresh scallops, of course, are best, but frozen can be fantastic. Thaw them under water, and allow them to come up to about 45-50ËšF before cooking. Cooking them while still cool will allow for a nice browning without overcooking them.

And, yes, I promise to quit being a fanboy about beans one of these days. In fact, the next recipe I’m posting doesn’t have any beans in it! Really!

One Response

  1. Scott J Says:

    This is a truly great recipe. I cooked it for my wife and I the other night and it was fantastic. She is not a bleu cheese fan so we subbed in some big chunks of feta cheese and it worked out great.