Sauteed Sea Scallops With Maple Butternut Squash Beurre Blanc

“This is without a doubt one of our most popular seafood entrees,” says Adam R. Weiss, executive chef of Esty Street in Park Ridge. “Coming up with different preparations is always a challenge. I thought that a risotto would pair very nicely with the scallops, but I decided to put a more rustic spin on the entree by using the Italian grain, farro, instead of canaroli rice.”

Photo by Laura Moss.

“The cabernet sauvignon gives the farro more of an earthy flavor and can stand up to the meatiness of the scallops,” Weiss continues. “Roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, capers and maple beurre blanc add sweetness, saltiness and texture to the farro. In addition, the dish is a wonderful display of different colors. I use what are known as dry-packed scallops: they are super fresh and not brined in a solution, giving the scallops more color as they saute to a nice crisp golden brown.”


Serves: 6 people




2 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch dice


½ cup vegetable oil


Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste


1.    Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss together to ensure squash and seasonings are equally mixed.


2.    Place on parchment paper-lined (or greased aluminum foil) cookie sheet.


3.    Roast in a 350 degree oven for about thirty minutes or until the squash is slightly browned and softened.


4.    Let cool and reserve for the farro risotto. This can be refrigerated up to three days in advance.




1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and large diced


1 small onion, large diced


1 tablespoon ginger root, chopped


1 cup dark amber maple syrup


3 cups water or chicken stock


1 cup heavy cream


¼ cup apple cider vinegar


Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste



1.    Combine all the ingredients, except the apple cider vinegar, in a medium sized pot.


2.    Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the mixture is soft.


3.    Transfer the contents to a blender and blend in batches until the beurre blanc is smooth.


4.    Add the apple cider vinegar to the sauce.


5.    Check the seasoning with Kosher salt, ground black pepper, and maple syrup, if necessary.


6.    More water can be added if the beurre blanc becomes too thick.


7.    Strain the contents through a sieve to make the sauce more velvety.


8.    Keep the sauce warm or store in the refrigerator for up to three days and slowly reheat.




1 small onion, finely diced


2 tablespoons good cooking oil


8 ounces farro


1 cup dry cabernet sauvignon (or similar red wine)


2 cups water or chicken stock


kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste


Roasted butternut squash from above


1 cup dried cranberries


1 cup capers, drained


4 tablespoons unsalted butter


1 cup toasted pine nuts



1.    In a medium sized pot, sweat the onions in good cooking oil over medium heat until translucent.


2.    Add  the farro and cook to coat the farro and the sweated onions.


3.    Deglaze the pan with the cabernet sauvignon, reduce the heat, and cook about five minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.


4.    Season the farro with kosher salt and ground black pepper.


5.    Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the farro has absorbed the liquid and is somewhat dried, about thirty minutes.


6.    The farro should have a softer bite, but not be too chewy. Add more water if necessary.


7.    Keep the farro warmed while cooking the scallops, or refrigerate up to three days ahead.


8.    To finish: heat the farro with one cup of water, if previously refrigerated, along with the roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, capers and unsalted butter.


9.    Check the seasoning with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Be careful–the capers are salty already.




24 large sea scallops, rinsed and dried on paper towels: I use fresh (not brined) U-10 sized scallops because they cook to a nice golden brown


Kosher salt to taste


2 cups good cooking oil


8 tablespoons unsalted butter



1.    In a large saute pan, bring the cooking oil to the smoking point. This will have to be done in two batches (half this recipe) as to not overcrowd the pan and cause the scallops to steam instead of saute to golden brown.


2.    Add the seasoned scallops to the pan and cook over medium heat for about three to four minutes, or until browned on the bottom.


3.    Turn the scallops and add the unsalted butter to the pan. Continue to cook for about three minutes for a medium-cooked doneness.


4.    Drain onto paper towels to drain the excess fat and moisture.  Keep warmed.


5.    Repeat with the remaining scallops.




1.    Serve the farro risotto on the bottom of a plate.


2.    Place the seared scallops (four per person) on top of each serving.


3.    Heat up the maple butternut squash beurre blanc and serve along the side.


4.    Sprinkle the plates with the toasted pine nuts.


5.    Serve immediately.


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