Food/ Giveaway/ Main Dishes/ Pescetarian/ Soups + Stews

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme
THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY ORCA BAY SEAFOODS, INC. | OPINIONS ARE MY OWN

Find a 15% off promo code at the end of this post, as well as a fabulous GIVEAWAY!

Scallops have been a prized treat to me ever since I was a little girl. While most kids were dunking chicken fingers into ketchup from the kids menu at seafood restaurants, I was gingerly dipping breaded scallops into creamy and dreamy tartar sauce like a boss. A sophisticated messy-pontytailed boss.

And a cozy bowl of clam chowder? Don’t even get me started…

When it came to creating a recipe using Orca Bay’s sweet, luscious, and robust sea scallops, a Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder celebrating two childhood faves just made sense.

I’ll be the first to admit that nothing beats a perfectly butter-seared scallop in it’s purest form, so I mean *NO* disrespect to these gorgeous scallops. But I like to play around and be adventurous at times, and I can promise you that this chowder is a *delicious* adventure with zero regrets.

Plus, you can still totally sear a few of those juicy gems and plop them onto your bowl for what is THE tastiest garnish ever.

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

Pescetarian? Swap the bacon for homemade smokey croutons!

A lot of chowders are built on seared fat — especially bacon fat. I won’t deny the extra oomph it gives to the flavor profile, but it’s a no-go for pescetarians. If you aren’t pescetarian, feel free to adapt this recipe to incorporate bacon! I’m sure it would be delish. Otherwise, if you’re really into the idea of having something smokey and a little crispy topping your chow-dah, you can make little smokey crispy croutons. All you need is a slice of regular ol’ bread, butter, smoked paprika, and an oven. BOOM. Magic.

Orca Bay Scallops are all-natural with no added water.

These beautifully plump sea scallops offer up that sweet flavor and velvety texture we covet due to the fact that they’re completely au naturale; they’re free of chemicals, additives, and they aren’t plumped up with extra water like the wet-packed scallops which you definitely want to avoid.

Wet-packed scallops are awful for a few reasons. They’re given a bath in sodium tripolyphosphate in order to add water weight which bulks them up to create a bigger scallop — but most of it is water.

Because of this…

  1. When you purchase these scallops, you’re paying for mostly water since scallops are sold by weight. (/Facepalm)
  2. These scallops don’t sear well at all. (/Fistshake)
  3. These scallops are robbed of their naturally sweet flavor and will taste a little soapy. (/Tableflip)

Scallops are a thing of beauty, so if you’re going to treat yourself, treat yourself right.

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

Help Fight Cancer With Sea A Cure

Sea A Cure was launched to help raise money for research and to implement a financial safety net for those in need of support while fighting the battle against the Big C. It’s also bringing awareness to the health benefits of clean quality seafood.

Sea A Cure is truly a shared cause and we appreciate you taking the time to check it out and consider donating or spreading the info <3

Also, we’re giving stuff away!

In an effort to bring awareness to Sea A Cure, I’m hosting the giveaway of ALL giveaways! A #SeaACure package with goodies from some of Sea A Cure’s partners:

TO ENTER: Comment below and tell me about the best scallop dish you’ve ever had!

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old AND a resident of the continental United States. You must be willing to provide a shipping address. (No PO Boxes.)

One winner will be chosen on Friday, October 13th

Not sure if Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. is available near you? Find out here, or shop their online store and save 15% by entering the code KillingThyme2017 at checkout!
Making this recipe? Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
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Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder

This pescetarian-style chowder brings plump seared sea scallops to your bowl with a hint of smokiness from smoked paprika and crispy smokey croutons.

Course Entree or Side, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Pescetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author Killing Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Orca Bay's sea scallops
  • 2 TBSP + 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 rib of celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 2 8 oz bottles of clam juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Smokey Croutons

  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • 2 TBSP butter (or butter your bread however you want)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 TBSP of butter and oil in a large saute pan over high heat.

  2. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and lightly salt them.

  3. Once the butter is melted and simmering, almost foamy, carefully add the scallops to the pan; make sure none of them are touching one other.

  4. Sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side, or until a golden crust starts to form and the scallop easily releases itself from the pan. If the scallop doesn't release when you try to budge it, let it cook about 30 seconds longer before trying again. Don't force it, or you'll tear it. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

  5. Reserving the butter and bits from the pan, remove the scallops from the pan and set aside. Transfer the butter and bits from the pan to a large stockpot. Add that extra TBSP of butter if needed.

  6. Add the celery and onion to the stock pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned — about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to get rid of the raw flavor.

  7. Add the clam juice and lemon juice, and whisk until smooth.

  8. Add the potatoes, wine, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and a few cracks of black pepper; simmer until the wine has evaporated and the potatoes start to soften, about 10 minutes.

  9. While you wait for the potatoes to cook, cut the scallops into quarters leaving a few whole for garnish if desired.

  10. When the potatoes are tender, add the cream and the cubed scallops. Add salt and black pepper to taste; Let the chowder come to a simmer, and immediately remove it from the heat. You don't want to bring it to a full boil. 

  11. Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard them.

  12. Let the chowder sit for a while to let the flavors settle. Reheat (*see notes) it to a low simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley, smokey croutons, and a full seared scallop. (I add microgreens and chives because I love them on any and all soups!)

Smokey Croutons

  1. Set the oven to broil. Butter your bread slices on both sides and sprinkle each side with desired amount of smoked paprika. Place the sheet pan on the top rack of the oven, closest to the broiler. Keep a close eye on the toast as it will brown fast — about 2 minutes. Flip it halfway through for another 1-2 minutes. Remove, cut into small cubes, and garnish soup.

Recipe Notes

If the chowder is thinner than you'd like and you want to thicken it up, simply mix 1/4 cup cold water with 2 TBSP corn starch in a cup or small bowl. Whisk until starch is completely dissolved. Bring the chowder to a simmer (not a boil) and slowly add the mixture to the soup while stirring. Stir until the chowder thickens.

Smokey Seared Scallop Chowder | Killing Thyme

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    susitravl
    October 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm The best scallops I ever ate were at a local restaurant. Georges Bank scallops with smoked beet, radish, tomatoes, spring pea – almond puree.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 13, 2017 at 11:28 am That. Sounds. Ah-mazing.
  • Reply
    Justine @ JustineCelina.com
    October 10, 2017 at 11:50 am This dish looks absolutely heavenly, Dana! I'm a huge scallop fan myself, although they're not something I eat very often, because we live in the prairies. I'm totally impressed by the quality of these scallops though -- I'm going to look into tracking down the Orca Bay scallops here in Calgary!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 13, 2017 at 11:27 am Thanks so much, gf! I can imagine it being tough to get good scallops out in the prairies. I don't think Orca ships to Canada, but I should actually ask them if they have any leads on Canadian companies that have equally awesome scallops! It would be good to know since 1/3 of my readership is Canadian! (I made that fraction up.)
  • Reply
    Mella Bell
    October 9, 2017 at 7:33 pm My fav restaurant always and forever, Carrol’s Creek, has an app with scallops wrapped in phyllo dough. Nix the sprinkle of prosciutto and it’s a perfect starter!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 13, 2017 at 11:22 am Winner winner scallop dinner, girl! I messaged you for your mailing address. Congratulations!
  • Reply
    Jyoti
    October 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm This recipe looks so delicious! As far as my favorite scallop dish, Coquette Brasserie in Raleigh has amazing seared scallops!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm Thanks, girl! I need to try that place - never been!!
  • Reply
    amylou61
    October 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm The best scallop dish I've ever had was the bacon-wrapped scallops at Bonefish Grill. Sadly, they're no longer on their menu :(
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm You know, I've yet to try out the Bonefish Grill. I need to get on that.
  • Reply
    Loreto Nardelli
    October 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm Hi Dana, this soup looks absolutely amazing. I love the tip on the scallops one that I have to confess to not knowing, so thanks for that am definately keeping that in mind next time I purchase scallops. I have to say one of my all time favorite soups was clam chowder. Most of my friends would say gross and yuck, and I would prosper as there would be more for me, lol. I just love these scallops you have used and the fact that they are all natural is an ultimate bonus. One thing that just hooks me right away is that nice sear you have on these morsels of the water. That golden sweet crunchy yet plump of juicy goodness has me salivating right now!. Great job on this soup and love the pictures, well done! Loreto@sugarlovespices
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm Thanks so much, Loreto! Clam chowder is fantastic, but I've suffered the same judgements as you have. People don't know what they're missing, and if they want to live that kind of life, then hey — more for us :)
  • Reply
    Shareba
    October 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm I've loved breaded scallops since I was a kid too. I used to get them when we went to the Mandarin restaurant. I've never thought of adding scallops to a chowder though!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm I can't remember the last time I had breaded scallops, and now I want some!
  • Reply
    Gabby Peyton
    October 6, 2017 at 11:47 am Lol! Fist shake when scallops don't sear well indeed! I love the combination of chowder as a bed for those pillowy scallops. Unlike you, I didn't like scallops as a kid but now I'm addicted, especially out here on the East Coast of Canada.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 9, 2017 at 5:59 pm I can't even imagine how delicious your scallops are! I really need to make it out to the East coast of Canada somtime. It's on my bucket list!
      • Reply
        Gabby Peyton
        October 10, 2017 at 11:31 am You need to come! Newfoundland has great seafood, but the Digby scallops out of Nova Scotia are the true legends! Huge and delicious!
  • Reply
    Charlotte
    October 6, 2017 at 8:19 am Scales restaurant in Portland Maine does this amazing scallop dish with bacon and corn and so much butter. I've always wanted to recreate it at home!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 6, 2017 at 11:43 am I can't even imagine how delicious seafood in Maine is! That sounds like the perfect dish, really. Despite the fact that I don't eat bacon anymore, I *do* make exceptions to try new things and that, right there, would be an exception. You should totally try to recreate it at home! <3
  • Reply
    Ginny
    October 4, 2017 at 10:50 pm Ohhh, chowders are so great. Love your added spices and potatoes too.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm Thanks, Ginny!
  • Reply
    Hope
    October 4, 2017 at 10:31 pm Scallops and chowder - yum! Looks and sounds like the perfect match :)
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm Thanks, Hope!
  • Reply
    Snappy Gourmet
    October 4, 2017 at 9:39 pm Great timing, my kids have been asking for scallops lately! This chowder looks perfect for them! Otherwise, their favorite dish is grilled scallops with a little butter/lemon/parsley.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm Smart kids! Their style sounds right up my alley ;)
  • Reply
    Everyday Sarah Jane
    October 4, 2017 at 9:08 pm Oh this sounds SO delicious, I love scallops! Today was a perfect day for chowder, will have to make it ASAP!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm Thanks, Sarah! I wish we were having more chowder-friendly days. It is still so dang hot here in NC!
  • Reply
    Patty @ Spoonabilities
    October 4, 2017 at 8:40 pm This chowder looks so delicious. And the scallops are amazing!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm Thanks Patty! Those scallops really are magical.
  • Reply
    Kaleigh @ Lively Table
    October 4, 2017 at 5:20 pm This looks so good Dana! Scallops are my favorite, can't wait to try this cozy meal!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm Thanks, Kaleigh! Scallops are *everything*.
  • Reply
    Michelle Taylor
    October 4, 2017 at 3:04 pm Your recipe sounds delicious and is a 'must try'! The best scallops I have had was at a Sheraton overseas. The seafood Paella was the best I have ever eaten!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:21 pm Thanks, Michelle! It was scrumptious. And yum. I can imagine scallops in a paella being delish.
  • Reply
    Erin P
    October 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm We made lemon butter scallops with fresh veggies & wild rice aboard our boat. Yummy!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm Lemon butter is so fabulous! Especially with delicate shellfish <3
  • Reply
    Sharla Derry
    October 4, 2017 at 1:42 pm This recipe sounds so fab! My favorite scallops recipe is bacon wrapped scallops grilled on skewers, with drawn butter for dipping. Heavenly.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm Thanks, Sharla! I definitely remember indulging in bacon-wrapped scallops many times. Such a classic!
  • Reply
    Samantha Bollmann
    October 4, 2017 at 1:14 pm Sous vide scallops in a white wine sauce with capers at a friend's house
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      October 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm Love capers with fish. That dish sounds excellent!

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