Seared Scallops With Whisky-Mushroom Sauce

The sweet vanilla notes of a good Canadian rye make it a surprisingly good fit with seafood. Here, whisky adds character and depth to a thyme-flecked mushroom sauce teamed with juicy scallops

Seared Scallops With Whisky-Mushroom Sauce

Photo by Franny N.

  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 1

    tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

  • 4

    slices bacon, finely diced

  • 2

    cups (500 mL) finely chopped cremini mushrooms (about 6 oz/175 g)

  • 1

    small clove garlic, minced

  • 12

    large scallops

  • Black pepper

  • 2

    tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice

  • ¼ cup (50 mL) Canadian whisky

  • 1

    cup (250 mL) low-sodium chicken stock

  • ¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream

  • 1

    tsp (5 mL) finely chopped thyme leaves

  • Salt

  • Thyme sprigs


In a skillet large enough to hold the scallops in 1 layer, heat oil over medium heat. Add bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour fat from skillet into a small bowl; set aside. Set skillet aside but do not wash. 2. In a separate medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) reserved fat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and browned. Stir in garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat; set aside in skillet. 3. Rinse scallops; pat as dry as possible with paper towels. Season with pepper. In the large skillet you used to cook the bacon, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) reserved fat over medium-high heat. Add scallops in a single layer; cook, without moving them, for 2 minutes. Turn scallops over; drizzle with lemon juice. Cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes until seared and the juices are starting to caramelize on base of skillet, adjusting heat so juices do not burn. Remove scallops to a plate; keep warm. 4. Add whisky to large skillet; boil for about 1 minute, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom of skillet, until liquid is syrupy. Add stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is reduced to about ¾ cup (175 mL). Strain into skillet containing mushrooms; stir in cream and any juices that have accumulated under scallops. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly; stir in thyme. Season to taste with salt and more pepper if needed. Divide sauce among 4 shallow bowls; top each portion with 3 scallops. Sprinkle with bacon; garnish with thyme.


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