6.03.2011

Scallops

Scallops:  They are shell fish.  Their name comes from the French word, escalope, meaning “shell”.  There are two types of scallops most commonly used in cooking – bay and sea scallops.  Bay scallops are smaller (about the circumference of a quarter) , while seas scallops are larger.  Nutritionally, scallops are an excellent source of quite a few vitamins and minerals.  They are high in protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and omega 3 fatty acids – so a great food for heart health!



So here are some interesting pieces of trivia about the scallops: 

Scalloped potatoes borrowed their name from the scallop.  The word scalloped originally was a reference to any type of seafood cooked in a cream sauce and served in their shell. 

For the designers out their, a scalloped edge is a reference back to the scallops shell and its wavy edge pattern. 

I fell in love with scallops when I went to Carraba’s Italian Grill for the first time.  They had a dish called “Spiedino Di Mare”, (translated means "skewered seafood") which is “shrimp and sea scallops coated with Italian bread crumbs and grilled and topped with a lemon butter sauce”.  I was hooked. 

I had always been a little intimidated in cooking with scallops and shied away from trying cook with them at home.   When we moved to Wisconsin, there was no Carraba’s around – and my craving was really strong, so I overcame my fear and to this day my husband is happy I did!

Here is my adapted recipe just for scallops (and its not skewered) that reminds me of the Carraba’s dish.  

Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 4

1 lb scallops (already prepped)
2 T olive oil
1 c panko bread crumbs
2 t rosemary
2 t thyme
2 t basil
salt
pepper

Rinse scallops with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides.  
Mix the panko breadcrumbs and seasonings in a bowel, mixing the seasoning thoroughly into the breadcrumbs. 

Sprinkle the scallops with olive oil and then dip top and bottom (flat sides of the scallop) into the panko breadcrumb mix.  Set aside. 

HOT TIP:  Scallops, like most proteins, will continue to cook after you remove it from the pan.   Since scallops are small, the tendency is to overcook.  Lean on the side of slightly underdone, depending on how many you are cooking and how long it will be before you serve them.  They are best served immediately, so take that into consideration when preparing.  Always make sure they are slightly springy in the center of the scallop when removing them from the pan.  They will break apart and be soft and white through the center.   Most importantly, DON’T BE AFRAID.  Get a few extra to test and taste (like that’s always a problem <smile>).    I know you can do it!

Heat a 10-12 inch sauté pan on the stove.  Add the olive oil to the sauté pan.   When oil is hot, place the scallops flat side down into the hot pan.  Turn the flame down to medium-high.  Sear the scallops, approximately 4-5 minutes.  This all depends on the size of the scallop, so stay by your pan and watch.  You will see the scallop start to turn white up the side of the scallop.   Flip the scallop and do the same for the other side.    I serve these with a rice pilaf or risotto and a green salad. 


Lemon Butter Sauce

There are simple recipes for a lemon butter sauce and then more complex recipes, so which you choose will depend on the time you want to take and the how many layers of flavor in the sauce you wish to have.  For the scallops, I like to use a shallot/garlic lemon butter sauce.  It adds an extra layer of flavor that is not contained in the scallop dish.  It’s all your pick and your taste!  Try them both and see what you like!

Simple Lemon Butter Sauce

4 T butter
½  lemon, squeezed, making approximately

Put 4T of butter into the pan you just seared the scallops in.  (You want all those yummies on the bottom of the pan.  Melt the butter.  When melted, squeeze ½ lemon into the butter and whisk.  Add more lemon to taste. 

Additions:  Add and additional 1 T of butter and then 2T finely minced shallots and crushed garlic to the butter and sauté for about 1-2 minutes to get the shallots and garlic soft and dissolved.  Then squeeze in the lemon. 

Printable Version of Scallops and Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe


Hawley has a recipe that came from a very creative friend many years ago.  This friend would just put foods together and when it came to scallops, this is what she came up with.  Hawley thinks that it is a great dish and especially nice for a formal dinner.

Scallop Sea-burg
Serves 5-6 people (can be doubled to serve 10-15)

3 c (1 lb) scallops, quartered
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 green onions sliced
1 c cooked rice (do NOT use minute rice)
1/2 t salt
1 c mayonnaise
1 to 1/2 cans of cream of chicken soup
4 T lemon juice
2 c celery
3/4 c roasted almonds
3/4 c buttered bread crumbs

Cut scallops into 4 pieces.  Mix mayonnaise and soup together in a large mixing bowl.  To the mayo mix, add everything but the bread crumbs and almonds.   Combine bread crumbs and almonds.  Set aside.  Pour the scallop mix into a buttered 9 x 13 baking pan.   Sprinkle the top with the bread crumb mixture.   Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Send us your favorite recipes for scallops and we will share them with our readers!