Pancetta Draped Scallops over Asparagus and King Crab Parsnips with Aged Balsamic and Hollandaise




“P for Pancetta”

How fitting it would have been to shoot this in Movember, while I’m sporting my Guy Fawkes wannabe moustache. I’ll have to remember for next year…

I’m thinking about making a full-length film featuring the many faces of Pancetta and “P for Pancetta” is just too perfect a name to pass up. Stay tuned for that one…

This recipe was developed at a dinner party in New Jersey in September, which is highlighted in this video:

More of the story of my trip to Steve’s Club is documented in my article, A Pocono Pig Swap. I encourage you to check it out, learn about the Kids of Camden, and buy some PaleoKits to support fitness in a community of At-Risk-Youth.

Back to the scallops… This version is slightly different than what I came up with originally and it will most likely be different next time I prepare it, which is part of Culinary Fitness, no? In the above video, I folded fresh mint and king crab into the parsnips, in this video I chose asparagus. I also used a maple balsamic reduction there, where here, I use a nice aged balsamic by Villa Manodori. In the original we infused the hollandaise with fresh basil, here it’s “holly” in its purest form…

There are three previous videos that are a part of this preparation. They are:


Parsnip Puree

How to Pluck King Crab Meat (as featured in the Bouillabaisse video)

So, there you have it. One more use for Hollandaise in a Paleo setting. There will be one more video in this series, which will feature our mother sauce in its famous setting, Eggs Benedict. I will feature my Alaskan version in which we find AK King Crab, Reindeer Sausage, and Smoked Alaskan Salmon. Trust me, it is something to get excited about!!!

Until then, keep it real and “Keep It Paleo!”

Your pal and Guide to Culinary Fitness,

Paleo Nick

Pancetta Draped Scallops over Asparagus and King Crab Parsnips with Aged Balsamic and Hollandaise

Ingredient List:

  • 3 large sea scallops, U-10 size, side muscle removed, dried on a paper towel
  • 3 slices pancetta
  • 2 ounces king crab meat
  • 1 cup parsnip puree (recipe below)
  • 6 asparagus spears, blanched and cut on a bias
  • 1 tablespoon or less aged balsamic vinegar, I use Villa Manodori
  • 2 tablespoons Hollandaise (recipe below)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Drape scallops in pancetta while heating a sauté pan over high heat.
  2. Once pan is hot, add oil and place scallops, pancetta side down in oil.
  3. Light salt back side of scallops and sear them for 1-2 minutes until pancetta becomes crisp and caramelized.
  4. Turn scallops over and aggregate on one side of the pan, tilt pan so that all oil flows into scallops thus searing the pancetta and tightening it around the remainder of the scallops. This will take 1-2 minutes.
  5. Remove scallops from the pan to a paper towel.
  6. Heat parsnip puree, king crab and asparagus in a small pan over medium-high heat or in the microwave until hot.
  7. Portion parsnip mixture into three dollops on a plate.
  8. Top the scallops, drizzle each lightly with aged balsamic and top with hollandaise.
  9. Share with your friends and enjoy!

Parsnip Puree

Ingredient List:

  • 6 parsnips, peeled and chopped into uniform chunks (8C)
  • ¼ cup lite coconut milk (3F)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Place parsnips in a pot of cold water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook until they become fork tender, and then strain them through a colander.
  3. Place cooked parsnips into a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Add coconut milk, Kosher salt and pepper and puree once again.

Adjust consistency and season with salt and pepper to your liking. As always, this recipe is only a guideline. Be creative and season to your liking. You could always add a little Thai curry paste to give the parsnips a bit of a kick!

Holly, Holly, Hollandaise

Ingredient List:

  • Clarified butter, placed it in a squirt bottle (approx. 18 oz will be used)
  • 1 lemon
  • Water, as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Tobacco sauce, to taste

Preparation Instructions: *We recommend checking out the video for best results.

  1. Place a soup pot with 3-4 inches of water over medium heat on the stove and heat to a slow boil (you don’t want a rapid boil).
  2. Add 3 egg yolks to a medium sized mixing bowl, the juice of half a lemon and whisk like crazy. Place bowl over of the soup pot, creating a double-boiler on the stove, and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes frothy. Remove the bowl from the heat periodically, but don’t stop whisking! The emulsifying process will take a little while, at least 4-5 minutes, so we hope your arms are ready for it. Once the mixture has increased in volume and forms ribbons or streaks in the bowl when you whisk through it, remove the bowl from the pot and place on a towel.
  3. Now it’s time to add the clarified butter in small squirts, alternating with spoonfuls of hot water from the soup pot. Add the butter and whisk until it thickens the mixture and then continue whisking as you add warm water to thin it out again. You will do this over and over until you have used approximately 18oz of the butter and reached the desired consistency for the sauce. Once you’re there, add the other half of your lemon juice, kosher salt and Tobasco to taste.
  4. Transfer to another dish for serving. If the sauce thickens before you serve it, bring it back to life by stirring in a little warm water.

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:


The U-10 scallops will give us a scallop that is about 1.5oz by itself, and therefore with each block equaling 1.5 oz, each scallop will be 1 block for 3 blocks total.

Additionally we have about 1.25 blocks form the crab meat, as 1.5oz again equal one block and we are using 2oz.

Finally we have the pancetta. It has about the same make up as bacon as it is Italian bacon. Since 3 slices of bacon are one block, we will count this as one block too, giving us a total of 5.25 Blocks.


For every cup of parsnip puree we get 4 carbohydrate blocks. Additionally, we get ½ carb block from the asparagus. 12 spears typically give us one block. This gives us 4.5 carb blocks total.


Our fats are coming from our hollandaise sauce primarily. For every tablespoon we use, we have about 9 blocks, so in this recipe we have 18 blocks.

Additionally we get one block from the parsnip puree for a total of 19 blocks.

Balancing Act:

We have a fairly balanced protein to carb meal, with a little more on the sauce.


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