Pan-Seared SCALLOPS on Smoked GOUDA Grits Cakes

w/SISSY Sauce

Table of Content: SEAFOOD/FISH

This recipe is long because of my very specific directions, but it is not rocket science!  I just let my words carry me away sometimes….  Lovers of sea scallops will find it perfectly delicious.

I had extra special help adding the photos here.  My granddaughter, Lu, aged 6 1/2 years old help me today!  Thank you Lu.


Beginning notes:

1. This recipe is to be made with dry packed sea scallops that should not be rinsed.

2. Use an iron skillet or other skillet that can stand the high heat of an oven to cook the grits cakes.  Keep cooked grits cakes warm after cooking.

3. Use tongs to cook scallops and have a warm plate for them when cooked.

4. Remember that scallops are small and cook quickly.  Do not overcook and make rubber balls!  Cooked scallops should be slightly springy when pressed with a fingertip.

5. Serve the entrée as quickly as possible after cooking the scallops.


Grits Ingredients:

4 slices bacon

4 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1-cup quick grits

½ cup Half & Half cream

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 or 3 green onions, sliced thin

3 ½ oz. smoked Gouda cheese, slice in thin wedges

1 T. bacon drippings


Scallops and Sissy Sauce Ingredients:

2 oz. chicken broth, divided

½ medium-sized sweet red pepper, finely diced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

2 T. finely chopped mild onion or green onions


¼ cup heavy cream

½ tsp. sweet or mild paprika

1 lb. medium-sized scallops dry packed

2 T. butter

2 T. extra virgin olive oil






To Cook the Grits Cakes:

In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a full boil; then slowly drizzle the grits into the boiling water while stirring.  Cook the grits uncovered on medium-high heat until grits begin to pop out of the pot.


Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium.  Allow grits to cook until very thick.

Remove the pot from the heat; then uncover and stir in the Half and Half until the mixture is smooth.  Return the pot to the heat and cover.


Cook until grits have thickened again; then add the Gouda cheese and pepper.  Stir to blend and melt the cheese; then remove the pot from the heat.


Turn oven to 400 degrees.  Put the bacon drippings into the skillet and place in the oven.  Allow bacon drippings to heat until hot, but not smoking.  Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven; then drop heaping tablespoonsful of the grits mixture into the skillet to make the grits cakes.  Return skillet to the oven to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until grits cakes are set.  Because of the skillet size, more than one baking will probably be required to make the grits cakes.  Makes about 15 medium-sized grits cakes.  Set aside.


To Cook the Sissy Sauce:

In a medium non-stick skillet, add 1 oz. of the chicken broth, the red pepper, garlic, and onions.  Cook on medium heat until all ingredients are soft; then add the remaining 1 oz. chicken broth.  Remove skillet from heat; then salt to taste.


Turn heat to low and stir in the heavy cream and paprika to blend.  Set aside.


To Pan Sear the Scallops:

Do not rinse the scallops.  Remove the “foot” from every scallop and discard - this is a tiny, almost invisible, side tab that pulls off easily.  Salt the scallops on all sides.


Using a large, non-stick skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together until very hot, almost to the wisp of smoke stage; then individually place the scallops in the hot skillet avoiding any crowding.  Do not move the scallops for 2 minutes to achieve the pan searing, dark crust that forms on the scallops.  After the 2 minutes, turn each scallop with tongs to sear on the opposite side for 1 minute.  Remove scallops to a warm side plate and cook remaining scallops.


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