Seared Scallops with Apple Wood Smoked Gouda Grits

seared scallops

I keep my eyes on the grocery ads each week for sales on certain items, especially seafood. In those rare times when sea scallops are priced within my budget, I make sure to plan a meal featuring them.

Scallops are fairly easy to prepare and it’s best to buy them fresh, not frozen. If you happen to buy them frozen, make sure you drain the excess liquid and pat them dry with paper towels before cooking them so you get a nice golden sear as shown in the photo. Then try different accompaniments to serve along with them like polenta or grits.

You might be thinking, “Wait, did she just say grits?” Hey, I get it. Polenta has become a very popular side dish in the past few years and even I have to admit that it sounds much sexier saying, “…served on a bed of polenta,” than saying, “…served on a bed of grits”.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I enjoy polenta. I think it’s very good and it has its merits; however there are times when a recipe just begs for some good old-fashioned grits. Especially the grits in this recipe – they have apple wood smoked Gouda cheese melted into them. Yeah, you read that right. Prepare to have one of those eye-closing, “Mmmm…,” moments after you’ve taken your first bite.

Another great thing about this recipe – it’s minimal clean up and it will take less than 30 minutes from stove to table!


12 large sea scallops
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup fat-free half and half
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 cup apple wood smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper


1) Bring the broth and half and half to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

2) Whisk in the grits, cover, reducing the heat to low, and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Stir in the cheese, 1 tablespoon of the butter and season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat.

4) Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.

5) Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, place the scallops in the pan and sear them for two to three minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer the scallops to a plate and cover them to keep them warm.

6) In the same sauté pan, add the wine and lemon juice and stir to loosen the browned bits into the sauce. Bring the mixture back to a boil for one minute. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter.

7) To serve, spoon a bed of the grits onto each plate, top with the scallops and then drizzle the sauce over the top.

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