June 13, 2023

Seared Scallops with Fresh Corn Polenta, Fava Beans, Cherry Tomatoes & Herb Oil

Recipe: Cory Vitiello

“This dish is a perfect date night meal. It’s filling but not overly so, and just fancy enough. The bright green and deeply flavorful herb oil tastes fantastic, but also gives a real visual slap thanks to the way it sets off the bright yellow of the polenta. The polenta by itself is a star, and though it cooks for quite a while, the time is mostly hands-off, and it can be used in any number of recipes to highlight the flavor of peak season summer corn. Serve it anywhere you would creamed corn: as a side with baked ham, barbecued ribs, or fried chicken.” – Cory Vitiello


  • 1½ lb fava beans in the pod (1–1½ cups shelled beans)
  • 12 heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt + extra for seasoning
  • ½ small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 12 large diver scallops
  • Black pepper
  • Neutral oil, for cooking
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Fresh Corn Polenta, warmed
  • 1 cup watercress, tender leaves picked
  • 6 sprigs dill, for garnish

Herb Oil

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ clove garlic
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup packed mint leaves
  • ½ cup packed parsley leaves Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 ice cubes


Yield: Serves 4

  1. Shell the fava beans from their pods. In a large saucepan, bring well-salted water to a boil over high heat. In a bowl, combine tap water and ice to make an ice bath, then set aside. Add the shelled beans to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, then remove from the saucepan and immediately plunge them into the ice bath to halt the cooking. Let the beans cool, then peel the skins. Set aside. In the same saucepan, use a slotted spoon to slip the cherry tomatoes in for 10 seconds, then remove from the saucepan and immediately plunge them into the ice bath. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the herb oil ingredients in a blender and blend on high until just smooth, taking care not to overheat.
  3. Remove the skins of the cherry tomatoes, and place the peeled tomatoes in a small bowl with ½ tsp salt. Toss with the shallots and garlic, and allow this mixture to marinate for about 20 minutes. Add the fava beans and herb oil and stir to combine.
  4. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan generously with neutral oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the scallops, taking care not to crowd the pan (depending on the size of your pan, this may need to be done in batches). Cook on the first side without moving for 2 minutes, until the edges develop a deep golden brown crust and the scallops release easily from the pan. Carefully flip the scallops and add the butter, basting the scallops for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  5. Spoon the polenta generously onto a serving platter, or onto individual serving dishes. Make a small well in the middle. Place watercress in the center and then the scallops overtop. Spoon the tomato and fava bean mixture overtop, garnish with the dill, and serve immediately.

Paula Wilson


Excerpted from Dad in the Kitchen: Over 100 Delicious Family Recipes You’ll Love to Make and They’ll Love to Eat by Cory Vitiello and Chris Johns. © 2023 Cory Vitiello and Chris Johns. Photographs by Paula Wilson. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.