Brown Butter Scallops with Sautéed Kale, Shishitos Over a Bed of Polenta



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Autumn is days away. DAYS! Which is so incredibly exciting but I’m still trying my hardest to hold onto the last bits of summer and maybe even merge them with this new upcoming season. See: this dish!

This meal is inspired by a dish I ate a few weeks ago when I went to Madison, Wisconsin to visit the headquarters of Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove. It was such an incredible experience touring the factories where they make their Sub-Zero refrigeration, Wolf cooking, and new Cove dishwashing appliances while learning all about the brand’s commitment to quality. Their appliances are pieces of art. The craftsmanship and artistry that goes into building each product is truly amazing.

Beyond making quality appliances, it was exciting to learn that Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove is also committed to inspiring people to cook and create memorable food experiences. And that’s exactly what happened as we walked through their gorgeous Harvest Haven garden and ate meals in their beautiful barn.

They had everything in that pretty garden. Everything from a 600-pound pumpkin to a greenhouse full of vine-ripe tomatoes—it was truly stunning. It was also sort of magical to eat blackberries off of a vine and then seconds later see the season’s first apples starting to turn red on the tree. Nature is amazing.

All of our meals were prepared by Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove’s corporate chef Joel Chesebro and his incredible team who rely heavily on fresh ingredients from the garden. My favorite dish out of everything we ate (and we ate A LOT) that made me want to cook the minute I got home was some sautéed kale with shishito peppers on top of a bed of creamed corn and scallops. I couldn’t wait to recreate this dish for you all.

Since corn is on its way OUT, I figured some season-change-free polenta would be a better option. But other than that, this is 100% inspired from the one I ate on the trip. These scallops were huge but so deliciously tasty.

If you’ve never cooked scallops, they are so much easier than they look. All it really takes is the trick of not moving them. And then they can properly get that nice l lovely golden brown crust. Flip and then cook again—that’s it!

Tips and Tricks

  • Try infusing the brown butter with a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary for an aromatic twist.
  • For the scallops, dry brining them in salt for a few hours beforehand can enhance the flavor and moisture.
  • No need for a workout – stir that polenta with gusto! It’s key for smoothness.
  • Use a cast iron skillet for the scallops to get an even, delectable sear.
  • When plating, a squeeze of lemon over the scallops will add a zesty pop of flavor.

Recipe FAQs

Can I swap out kale for another green in this polenta?

Absolutely! Spinach or chard can slip into this cozy dish just as comfortably as kale. Give ’em a quick sauté, and they’ll nestle right in.

Are there any tricks to achieving that perfect golden crust on scallops?

You betcha! Pat those beauties dry, get your pan screaming hot, and resist the urge to fiddle with them. Let them sizzle until they’re golden brown and just cooked through.

Is instant polenta an option here, or should I stick to the traditional kind?

Time crunch? Instant polenta is your friend. Just keep an eye on the texture, and you’re good to go.

How do I know when the brown butter is just right?

Watch for a toasty, nutty smell and little brown bits forming at the bottom of the pan – that’s your cue!

Any suggestions for a dairy-free version of this recipe?

Coconut oil or a quality vegan butter can stand in for butter. And for the polenta, a splash of almond milk can add creaminess without the dairy.

5 from 2 votes

Brown Butter Scallops with Sautéed Kale, Shishitos Over a Bed of Polenta

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Sizzle up your skillet with our Brown Butter Scallops on Kale Polenta recipe and savor a gourmet meal tonight!



  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lots of black pepper

Kale + Shishito:

  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 10 shishito peppers, about 1/2 pint, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch of kale, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound scallops
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil, or another neutral oil


To Make the Polenta:

  • To a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the water. When the water comes to a gentle boil, pour in the polenta. Give it a good stir and allow to cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. At this point, the polenta should have absorbed all of the water. Add the butter, parmesan, a few pinches of salt and a bunch of round of black pepper. Give it a taste. Cover and set aside until you’re ready to serve.

To Make the Kale + Shishito:

  • To a medium skillet, set over medium-high heat, add a the grape seed oil. When the oil gets hot, add the shishito peppers and allow to cook and sizzle for about 2 to 3 minutes before giving it a mix and cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Next, add the kale, along with a few pinches of salt and give it a good mix. Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the kale is nice and softened. Mix in the juice from 1/2 lemon. Cover and set aside until you’re ready to assemble.

To Make the Scallops:

  • To make the brown butter, add it to a small saucepan and melt. When it gets melty, it’ll begin to foam up and slowly begin to give off a nutty smell. Give it a stir until it turns a light brown color. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
  • Place scallops on a clean kitchen towel and dry off the tops. Sprinkle the scallops with a few pinches of salt. Add the oil to a large skillet, set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallops (you may need to do this in batches depending on the exact size of your skillet). Allow to cook on the first side for about 3 minutes, until golden brown, flipping and cooking on the second side for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • To serve, add a scoop of polenta to a plate, top with a few spoonfuls of the kale and shishitos, a few scallops and a teaspoon of brown butter.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.6g | Protein: 27.6g | Fat: 20.4g | Saturated Fat: 12.2g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 6.3g | Sugar: 5.5g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!

(This post is sponsored by Sub-Zero, Wolf, Cove. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)

Cozy Latin-Inspired Comfort Food Recipes

Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I had this on the patio last night with a good bottle of zinfandel. It was a really hard day (Roe v Wade was overturned), and it was a delicious pick me up!

  2. Oh my !! This looks amazing and scallops are one of husbands and my favorites! I have never made polenta but this looks so good I’m just gonna have to give it a try!!

  3. I never thought of making scallops at home — they seem so fancy! But this way of cooking them looks really easy. 🙂 And anything served over a bed of polenta is DELICIOUS in my book. 😀