scallop bean cream
Fish Recipes

Venetian Sea Scallops with Bean Cream

In Tuscany the white bean (cannellini) is king, but Venice prefers the variegated pinto or borlotti bean. “We never saw white beans in Venice when I was growing up,” Francesco says. In this dish a puree of the beans becomes the velvety, herb-infused sauce for meaty seared scallops.

scallop bean cream

Sea Scallops with Bean Cream

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1 cup (185 g) dried barlotti (cranberry) beans or pinto beans
  • 10 sea scallops
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • Stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • A mix of bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and thyme


  • Cover the beans with water to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm) and allow to soak 4 hours or overnight. Drain the beans, place them in a saucepan, and cover with water to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, and bunch of herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In the beginning of the cooking, you may have to skim foam that collects on the surface. When the beans are tender, drain them, reserving about ½ cup (125 ml) of the cooking liquid.
  • Puree all but 1 cup (250 g) of the beans in a food processor with the cooked garlic, carrot, onion, and reserved cooking liquid. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a saucepan and set aside.
  • Slice the scallops in half horizontally. Mix the bread crumbs with the cheese, parsley, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Dust the scallops with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a heavy skillet. Lightly brown the slices of sea scallops in the oil, then transfer them to absorbent paper.
  • Toss the reserved cup of beans in the skillet just enough to reheat them. Reheat the bean sauce.
  • To serve, spoon 5 to 6 tablespoons (75 to 90 ml) of the bean sauce on each of 4 warm plates.
  • Arrange 5 slices of the scallops, slightly overlapping, in a circle on the sauce.
  • Spoon a few tablespoons of the whole beans in the center, garnish with sprigs of thyme and serve.
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