RECIPE: Sea Scallops with Parsnip Puree and Herbs



For more information on sourcing fresh local fish, and more recipes, check out “Wild Caught.”

Pristine sea scallops arrive at Martha’s Vineyard fish docks daily, caught by local fishermen. The quality can’t be beat and they make a delicious and easy meal. The cooking times can’t be beat either — about 2 minutes a side. In this recipe from Catherine Walthers, scallops are paired with an easy lemon herb sauce that cuts the richness of the scallops. You can vary this by substituting pureed squash for the parsnip. Serves 2.


Sea Scallops

6-8 sea scallops, or more depending on appetite

3-4 parsnips, peeled and diced, about 2 cups

2 Tablespoons butter, divided

¼ cup half-and-half

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lemon Herb Sauce

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped finely

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley leaves. chopped finely

6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoons shallot, finely minced

½ lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

Salt and fresh pepper


  1. Remove the muscle from the scallops and rinse well. Dry on a paper towel and set aside in the fridge until ready to cook.
  2. Place the diced parsnip in a saucepan of boiling water and cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain. Purée in the food processor with 1 tablespoon of butter and the half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Make the herb sauce by combining the basil, parsley, olive oil, shallot, and salt and pepper. Just before serving, add the lemon juice (to keep the sauce bright green).
  4. To cook the scallops, use a cast-iron skillet or any skillet with a thick bottom. Heat on medium-high. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and a bit of olive oil and sear the scallops on one side until golden, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Flip and sear another 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  5. To plate, smear reheated parsnips on the plate. Place seared scallops on top and spoon the sauce alongside or in dollops on the plate. Enjoy!

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Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers, Bluedot’s food editor, is a Martha’s Vineyard-based writer, culinary instructor, and private chef. A former journalist, she is the author of 4 cookbooks, including Kale, Glorious Kale, Soups + Sides, and Raising the Salad Bar. She wrote an environmental guidebook called A Greener Boston published by Chronicle Books in 1992. Follow her on Instagram @catherine_walthers.

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