If you’re looking for an impressive yet easy romantic dinner then here’s your answer. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day “stay in and cook something special” dish for the adults of the family. I tried this dish on my kids and they were not fans at all (and they also kept calling everything by the wrong name, too…clams instead of scallops, lettuce instead of arugula, and grits instead of polenta). So they definitely proved their point that this upscale meal should be left to the enjoyment of adults only, at least in our house. And I don’t know about you, but we certainly don’t mind a quiet evening alone every now and then! Plus this is not one of those fancy dishes that will have you in the kitchen cooking and cleaning all night long either, so get ready to enjoy.
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup whole-grain coarsely ground corn meal, organic recommended
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 6 – 8 scallops (depending on your appetite and your budget!), dry packed scallops are recommended and shrimp can be substituted if desired
- 4 thin slices prosciutto, organic or locally raised prosciutto recommended
- Two handfuls freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 bunch arugula
- 3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Warm the milk in a small pot over high heat. Once the milk begins to boil turn the heat down to low and whisk in the corn meal. Add the salt, keep on low (uncovered), and occasionally stir the mixture until the milk has been absorbed completely and the polenta is tender when sampled, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile zest the lemon, mix it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside. If you don’t have a zester, use a vegetable peeler to get off some of the yellow lemon rind and then finely dice it.
- Rip apart the prosciutto and wrap small pieces in a circle around the outside of the scallops.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the scallops to the pan. Be sure an unwrapped part of the scallop is touching the bottom of the pan because that’s the part you want to get brown…not the prosciutto (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything). Cook for a couple minutes until the bottom starts to turn brown and then flip to the other side of the scallop. Cook until firm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
- While the scallops are cooking divide the polenta onto two plates and sprinkle with a small handful of parmesan cheese. Top the polenta with a handful of fresh arugula leaves and then drizzle with a little of the olive oil & lemon zest mixture. Top with the scallops and sprinkle the thyme leaves over the entire plate.
Serve warm and enjoy!