My anniversary is coming up on St. Patrick’s Day, and I always love to make some Irish-themed recipes around this time. It’s a nice reminder of our wonderful wedding day. (Excuse me while I get all the feels). I started with the usual corned beef and cabbage, but I’m trying to go deeper into Irish cuisine. This Irish Scallop Bisque definitely isn’t something I think of for St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m excited to try it. We both love scallops, and I’ve never tried making a bisque. Sounds good to me!
Luxurious flavors abound in this creamy bisque! It’s perfect as an elegant starter course, or a light main course with bread and a salad…
I had the spices and a few of the ingredients on hand like the vegetable oil and tomato paste. I had to buy quite a few ingredients, though, but this recipe is chock full of basics that were easy to find at my usual grocery store. No worries about getting carrots, celery, onion, or a russet potato.
I don’t really drink white wine, so I went with a wonderful budget find of Three Wishes Chardonnay. At $2.99 a bottle, it’s a grocery store find that’s perfect for cooking.
Of course, I had to buy scallops. I keep a lot of ingredients on hand, but scallops aren’t one of them. I chose to buy them frozen for a couple of reasons. First, they can be stored for much longer than fresh. Fresh scallops really should be used within 24 hours of purchase. I knew there would be a few days between buying the scallops and making the bisque, so frozen was perfect for me.
The second reason I opted for frozen scallops was the price. A 24-ounce bag of frozen scallops was $26.99 while fresh scallops were prices at $21.99 per pound (8 ounces). There were enough scallops in the bag to make this recipe twice, which is a good backup in case something goes wrong. If not, I have extra for another recipe.
Finally, this recipe calls for seafood stock. This was the one ingredient I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find. Thankfully, Whole Foods carries seafood stock, so no special orders or extra trips were required.
I tend to prep just enough ingredients to get a recipe started, then finish the prep work as I cook. This recipe really needs to have everything prepped beforehand, but it was quick work. I had it done in the 5mnutes specified.
By the way, it’s not specified, but I peeled the potato. The vegetables will ultimately be pureed, and peels would not make a smooth bisque.
A good-sized pan is a must for this recipe, especially if you will be using an immersion blender to puree the bisque. I opted for a 4.5-quart pan, and it was just big enough to contain the accidental (and inevitable) splashes.
A pair of tongs will also be very useful. I used them to remove the large pieces of celery and bay leaves before I pureed the vegetables. They were also helpful for flipping and retrieving the scallops from the skillet.
Oh, that reminds me to tell you about “wet” versus “dry” scallops. Apparently, wet scallops are very common and have been treated with a solution that makes them absorb more water. That water is exuded when the scallops are cooked and causes them to steam instead of sear.
I dried my scallops thoroughly, and there was still plenty of moisture in the pan. They only seared a little bit, as you can see in the main photo. That was unfortunate, but they were still tender and tasty.
Lastly, the time to sear the scallops isn’t specified. My scallops were pretty big, so I cooked them for 90 seconds per side, for a total of 3 minutes.
Things went very smoothly with this recipe, and I really appreciated the tip about keeping the celery in large pieces and removing it before pureeing. But despite how easy it seemed, this recipe took me a bit longer than the 40 minutes specified. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 5 minutes to prep
- 49 minutes to cook
- 54 minutes total
I’m guessing the slow-down happened at a few points in the process. The first must have been when I pureed the bisque. It took me a few passes with the immersion blender to make sure all the vegetables were thoroughly broken up.
Next was seasoning the newly pureed bisque. It took me a few tries to add salt and pepper, taste, and continue to adjust. I estimate I added a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. The starchy potatoes really soaked up the salt, so I used more than I expected to.
Lastly, I had to wait a few minutes for the skillet to get good and hot before I tried to sear the scallops. That and dry scallops will give you a good sear.