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Seared Scallop Chowder

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 5 cups

Servings: 4

Chock full of scallops, this thick, creamy, classically flavored chowder showcases the mollusks’ silken texture.


  • 1 lb. dry sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 small celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 8-oz. bottles clam juice
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. canola oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 390
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 200
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 90
  • Sodium (mg): 850
  • Carbohydrates (g): 26
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 21


  • Reserve four of the scallops for garnish and cut the remaining scallops into 3/4-inch pieces.
  • In a 4-quart pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble once cooled.
  • Pour off the fat and wipe out the pot with paper towels. Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in the pot over low heat. Add the celery and onion, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to get rid of the raw flavor. Whisk in the clam juice until smooth. Add half of the bacon, the potatoes, cream, bay leaf, thyme, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in the scallop pieces and parsley. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to keep warm.
  • Pat the reserved scallops dry with a paper towel. Heat an 8- to 10-inch cast-iron or other heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and the remaining 1 tsp. of butter. Season the scallops very lightly with salt, and cook, undisturbed, until well browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just barely cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes more, depending on size. Transfer to a plate.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the chowder. Divide the chowder among four shallow bowls and garnish each with a seared scallop. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and a little freshly ground black pepper, and serve.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • SeeBeth | 10/11/2021

    Pitch perfect. I made with lactose free evaporated milk. (Evaporated milk, lactose free or not, is my taste preference for chowders.) There is definitely not enough liquids called for. While I doubled the evaporated milk, I would try adding 50-100% more clam juice. This recipe is super easy and a keeper!

  • 1newskibum | 10/12/2017

    Just delicious. Only change I made was, I added some chicken broth and a little less cream. Enjoy!

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