Beans and greens are elevated with bay scallops, plenty of lemon juice, and lots of garlic. This recipe for beans and greens with scallops will be your new go-to weeknight seafood recipe. Looking for a new beans and greens recipe? Or want to try a new weeknight seafood recipe? This recipe for beans and greens with scallops will be your new favorite meal. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and you only need one pot! BUT! Before we get into the recipe, let’s talk scallops. Specifically, one of the most common inquiries: bay scallops vs. sea scallops?
What’s the difference between bay scallops vs sea scallops?
You’re likely familiar with sea scallops. They’re sold wet or dry-packed. Dry-packed, U10 sea scallops are the crème de la crème of sea scallops. Dry-packed means they are not preserved in a water solution, and U10 means there are fewer (under) than 10 scallops per pound. In simple terms, they’re BIG and preserved in a way that doesn’t add water weight to the scallop. You’ll often find sea scallops served at a high price point at restaurants, whether in risotto or served with pasta. I love serving sea scallops alongside fish with a beurre blanc sauce. Dry scallops can cost anywhere from $25–$40 per pound.
On the other hand, bay scallops are smaller, about ⅓ the size of an average sea scallop. They’re also much more economical, running anywhere from $10 to $12 per pound, and even cheaper if frozen. Bay scallops tend to be on the sweeter side, whereas sea scallops–while still sweet–tend to bring a richer, saltiness with them. Because of their small size and fast cooking time, don’t expect to develop a gorgeous sear on bay scallops. Enjoy them for their sweet flavor and quick cooking time. An attempt to hard-sear them will result in over-cooked scallops.
How to make these beans and greens with scallops:
This recipe takes advantage of bay scallops’ quick cooking time. It’s an easy, quick weeknight seafood recipe that you’ll love.
To get big flavor out of this quick meal, I start by marinating the garlic. I mix it with lemon juice, lemon zest, and a sliced red Fresno chili pepper. Use any hot pepper you like or use crushed red pepper to taste.
From there, pour the marinated garlic into melted, bubbly butter and then add the scallops. Cook them up in the butter until just barely cooked through. No need to fuss over each scallop being perfectly cooked through. The residual heat will cook them and they’ll also be returned to the pot later on to warm through.
Then, cook up some tomatoes, beans, and chicken stock for 10 minutes. Finish up the dish by stirring in arugula and adding the cooked scallops. You need to only simmer them for a minute or so to warm them up That’s it!
Beans and Greens with Scallops
- Wide pot
- 1 pound bay scallops
- 14.5- ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 2 lemons juiced and zested, juice and zest kept separate
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and sliced into rounds or use crushed red pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 ounces arugula
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread optional, for serving
Prepare the marinated garlic:
- In a bowl, combine half the lemon juice, all but 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper, and toss to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Prepare the scallops:
- Pat the bay scallops dry, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Cook the bay scallops:
- Add the butter to a wide pot and melt over medium-high heat. Once melted and bubbly, add the marinated garlic and red pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown. Add the scallops and cook for 2-4 additional minutes until just cooked through and opaque. Pour the scallops and all the juices in the pan into a medium bowl and set aside.
Cook the tomatoes:
- Return the pot to medium heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes until just beginning to soften. Add the beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beans are tender. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook for 10–12 minutes until reduced by half.
Finish the beans and greens:
- Add the arugula to the pot and cook for 1–3 minutes until just wilted. Stir in the bay scallops and any juice remaining in the bowl and toss to coat. Cook for an additional minute until the scallops are warmed through. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the bay scallops between bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of reserved lemon zest and a crack of fresh black pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread, if desired. Enjoy!