Recipe: $14.04 | Per Serving: $7.02 | Yield: 2
Looking for an actually easy date night recipe that feels restaurant-fancy? Seared scallops with a flavorful veggie puree and a colorful sauce is the answer! These seared scallops are so much easier than they look, and they’re paired with a delicious celeriac puree and a bright, bitter greens pesto.
Although we eat wild seafood regularly, scallops are definitely a special occasion food for us. Sustainable wild scallops are a little harder to find and tend to be quite expensive. But, when it’s date night, a little splurge goes a long way. You’ll be rewarded here with restaurant-worthy scallops at a third of the price!
A note on sustainability: I like to use the Monterey Seafood Watch App as my sustainable seafood source, but I always buy wild rather than farmed if it is available.
How to Sear Scallops
Searing scallops is easy, but there are two important tips to ensure searing success.
- You need VERY dry scallops.
- You need a high smoke point oil for the initial searing. Avocado oil works great here, but you can also use a light olive oil or a well-strained ghee. I’ve used bacon grease also!
It only takes about 2-3 minutes per side, and they’re nearly impossible to screw up! I recommend a medium-high heat and finishing things off with butter and sage for maximum flavor potential.
What is Celeriac?
Celeriac is the french word for celery root. It is not actually the root of the celery plant, but a different plant all together. It is in the same family as celery and carrots and is considered a root vegetable.
What Does Celeriac Taste Like?
Celeriac has a similar umami-like flavor as celery. The root tastes a bit like celery-flavored parsnip or sunchoke, but is slightly less sweet. It’s kind of like a mix of celery and parsley together.
Celeriac is really gnarly looking (see picture above), but the taste is quite sweet and approachable. It’s a fantastic option for soup or thickening sauces, and makes a good early food for infants! And nutritionally, it’s also a decent source of vitamin K!
What is a Good Substitute for Celeriac?
I love celeriac, and I doubly love that it’s a Low FODMAP option, but feel free to sub in potatoes or cauliflower mash if that’s what you have on hand. Celeriac is about $3.99/pound so you can usually find potatoes for cheaper. If you want a similar flavor, you can add some ground celery seed to your alternative mash.
Vegetarian: No – but this is pescetarian!
PIN THIS RECIPE FOR YOUR NEXT DATE NIGHT! (Or personal fancypants dinner. You deserve it.)Print
This beautiful dish is a perfect date night dinner. Seared scallops are a real show-stopper, paired here with celeriac puree and bright green pesto.
- 1 pound celeriac / celery root
- 2 cups water or unsalted broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon coconut milk, regular milk, or cream
Bitter Greens Pesto:
- 1/2 cup dandelion greens
- 1 cup fresh basil, packed
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons high-heat oil, like avocado oil
- 2 servings scallops (about 3–5 per serving)
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage (can replace with 1 tsp chopped fresh sage)
- Wash and peel the celeriac, then roughly chop into medium-sized cubes. Place in large pot and cover with about 2 cups water or broth and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Pour off some of the excess liquid, reserving it for blending, but leave at least 1/4 cup with the celeriac. Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, blend the celeriac into a smooth puree. Add the two Tablespoons of butter and one Tablespoon of coconut milk and blend until well combined. Add reserved cooking liquid as needed.
Bitter Greens Pesto:
- Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until a pesto consistency is reached, scraping down sides as needed. If not Low FODMAP, feel free to add 2 medium sized cloves of garlic as well.
- Thaw the scallops overnight between two paper towels. For best results, remove the paper towels in the morning and place a new paper towel underneath to continue absorbing moisture. Leave uncovered in fridge for a few more hours to dry out further until cooking time.
- To cook: Blot scallops on all sides to ensure they’re completely dry, then sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Warm avocado oil or other high-heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. I recommend a cast iron skillet for this. When hot, place scallops directly in the oil. Give them plenty of room, but do not move them once they’ve made contact with the skillet. Set a timer for 2 minutes.
- Cook scallops for approximately 2-3 minutes on the first side. You’ll know they’re ready when the underside has formed a brown crust, which you should start to see around the bottom of the scallop.
- Flip the scallops and let cook about 1 minute. Then add 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1/2 teaspoon ground sage to the pan, stirring to combine. Using a spoon, start scooping the butter and drizzling it over the scallops for the remaining 1-2 minutes of cooking time.
- Remove from pan and serve immediately. Drizzle with any remaining sage butter sauce!
The Bitter Greens Pesto Recipe makes about 8 servings. Nutrition label is for 1/8th of the pesto.
- Category: fish, shellfish, low FODMAP, date night
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American, Date Night