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Maine Sea Scallops with Balsamic Lentils and Crispy Prosciutto

Serves 6

Recipe courtesy of Chef Brian Whitmer / Hospitality Ventures Management Group.


  • 2½ cups French green lentils
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrot
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped leek
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh clove garlic
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup Kimberley Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 18 large fresh sea scallops, cleaned of outer membrane
  • 6 thin slices of prosciutto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 Brussels sprouts, lightly steamed


  1. Sort and rinse lentils. In soup pot, combine lentils with unsalted water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In skillet over medium heat, heat two tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrot, celery, onion, leek and garlic. Sauté vegetables for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add chopped parsley and sauté one minute. Add tomato paste and cook 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add vinegar, thyme and bay leaf and lower heat to simmer. Continue cooking until liquid is reduced by one-half.
  5. Add lentils, chicken stock. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by one quarter. Finished lentils will be moist.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in remaining olive oil.
  1. Season scallops with salt and pepper. In fry pan at medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add scallops and sauté until golden brown on each side, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. In small fry pan, at medium heat, heat ½ tablespoon oil. Add prosciutto and cook until slightly crisp, being careful not to dry out.
  1. On serving plate, ladle lentil mixture onto plate, top with a piece of crispy Prosciutto.
  2. Arrange 3 scallops on top of lentils and decorate with leaves from Brussels sprouts.
  3. Serve immediately.

More about the chef behind this receipe:

Brian Whitmer

Chef Brian Whitmer rediscovered Kimberley vinegars a year after opening VINeleven, his new restaurant at the Napa Valley Marriott and Spa. Brian loves the vinegars because their low acidity is compatible with Napa Valley wines. He prepares many wine makers dinners and says the salad course is challenging because most vinegars are too acidic, but not Kimberley, which is perfect choice to serve with wine.

At VINeleven Brian implements all the “sacred” tenets of local and sustainable eating, including his outdoor heirloom herb and vegetable garden on the property. Brian likes a casual, “no rules” atmosphere that’s meant to be part of the dining experience; he believes in letting guests order what they like and in any order they want it.

Brian’s outstanding culinary career began at Kansas City’s famed American Restaurant before moving northeast to New York’s Tavern on the Green, The Polo Club, and Montrachet where he earned the restaurant a three star rating from the New York Times.
Relocating to the Bay Area in 1989, Brian helped open San Francisco’s Campton Place Hotel. He then spent six years as Executive Chef at the Highland Inn in Carmel, CA where he ran culinary operations for the prestigious Masters of Food & Wine. Brian then departed for Montrio in Monterey, which resulted in a nod for “Best Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire food aficionado John Mariani. Brian is currently Director of Food, Beverage and Culinary Services at Hospitality Ventures Management Group in Sonoma, California.

Brian uses Kimberley Balsamic vinegar to liven up French lentils served with scallops in the following recipe.


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