Seared Scallops and Bacon Jam

Bacon jam conjures up all sorts of culinary delights and possibilities. It seems that bacon is today’s hero in sweet concoctions such as bacon baklava, cupcakes with bacon, bacon chocolate crunch bar, chocolate bread pudding with bacon crème anglaise to name a few. But wait, before you turn your nose up at the notion, I’ll bet you have gleefully eaten pancakes drenched in maple syrup (or favorite other sauce) along with bacon and the taste? Well, for me, scrumptious! We have Heston Blumenthal to thank for starting this bacon craze back in 2006 (remember his bacon and egg ice cream?). I love salt in dark chocolate so why not bacon?

Whole Foods opened a new location last month 8 miles from where we live. I love this store! I first found out about Whole Foods (Columbus Circle location) back in March of this year. I’ve been to the new location a few times now and each time I come away thinking, “wow, that’s my kind of food shopping experience”.  The staff there are always eager to assist you and to answer any questions you might have.  This is where I purchased the larger-than-life scallops and enjoyed listening to the fish monger tell the story where they came from.  He definitely was passionate about what he was selling!

Serves 4 to 6
adapted from The Old Fish Factory found in the culinary guide, Taste of Nova Scotia

2 teaspoons butter (can also use olive oil)
500g (1 lb.) scallops (20 – 30 size)

Bacon Jam:
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
500g (1 lb.) bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
250ml (1 cup) brewed coffee
50 ml (1/4 cup) cider vinegar
50 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup

To make the jam, fry the bacon until lightly browned and just starting to crisp. Sauté the onion and garlic in the bacon fat without browning the onion. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a pot and add the rest of the jam ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour, adding 50ml (1/4 cup) of water every 30 minutes only if it’s starting to look dry. Place in a food processor and pulse 2-3 seconds to allow some texture to the jam.

Before searing the scallops, remove any moisture by patting them dry. Sear scallops in a hot skillet with butter or olive oil for 2 minutes per side until the scallop starts to brown and splits on the side. Depending on the size, you may need to increase cooking time.

Place warm scallops on a plate and top with the bacon jam.  Remember to warm the jam before serving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
  Absolutely delicious!  These scallops were U-20, wild-caught 100 miles from New York and each one weighed 100g! If you are not familiar with the scallop sizing of U-20 (like I was), all it means is that “u” means under. So a U-10 would have under 10 scallops per pound.  Use bacon jam as a condiment on hamburgers, crostini, grilled cheese sandwich, baked potatoes or as a base for a vinaigrette.  Cheers!


  1. Mmm... is for Mommy on November 7, 2011 at 18:38

    I LOVE bacon jam and made some last summer. I didn’t however pair it with scallops, but I can only imagine how incredible it is!

  2. The Culinary Chase on November 7, 2011 at 20:12

    Thanks Mmm! It was so amazing and I have some bacon jam leftover for other uses. YUM!

  3. Michelle on November 8, 2011 at 11:57

    This sounds and looks yummy!

  4. The Curious Cat on November 9, 2011 at 19:01

    I love the idea of bacon jam! This sounds like an amazing little starter! So going to do it! xxx

  5. The Culinary Chase on November 9, 2011 at 19:20

    Thanks Michelle and Curious! I have some leftover bacon jam and look forward to spreading it on toast! Cheers.

  6. […] The jam was definitely a nice touch and I learned a little goes a long way with this one. Here’s the recipe: […]

    • The Culinary Chase on September 30, 2014 at 10:09

      Thanks for the shout out. Bacon jam is the pièce de résistance and versatile. Cheers. 🙂