Baked scallops are a delicious appetizer or even entree. These marine mollusks are truly cosmopolitan – they inhabit all of the world’s oceans. Accordingly, a wide variety of scallop dishes are popular in both Eastern and Western culture. Scallops are often fried or sautéed, but may also be baked. And this article will show you how to do the latter.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and put the oven rack in the middle.
2. If the scallops are still attached, cut them from their shells. If both shells are present, take the scallop with the light up (there will be a lighter and darker shell) and slide a butter knife in between the shells, cutting the attachment muscle as close as possible to where it meets the top side shell. Then loosen the innards (technically termed roe but more commonly known as coral) a bit with the knife and dump them out of the shell. What is left is the white, meaty adductor muscle, commonly known as the scallop. This is the part that in Western culture is traditionally eaten (and that you will be baking). So simply scoop the scallop out of the shell and put it in a bowl.
3. When you have gathered all of these scallops in a bowl, rinse them off with water. Dry them afterwards by patting them down with a paper towel. Place them in an oiled baking dish. You will serve the scallops in this baking dish so choose one that looks good at the table.
4. Mix 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon of paprika, ¼ cup of chopped parsley, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a bowl.
5. Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic in a saucepan or pot. Stir and sauté the garlic for 2 or 3 minutes. Now pour this mixture over the breadcrumb ensemble that is in the bowl. You can add other spices such as thyme, basil, and dill to the butter as well.
6. This is, of course, not the only toping you can put on the scallops. There are a wide variety of toppings that will taste great on baked scallops. Come up with your own ideas or check out: Cook Eat Share: Baked Scallops for some ideas. The point is to come up with something that will be flavorful and bake quickly. You can even pound the soft pink coral part of the scallop with butter and use it as a kind of butter sauce for the scallops or other fish dishes – but this would be heated and added after baking, not baked on top of the scallops.
7. Alternative technique: You can skip the breadcrumbs and simply sauté the butter, garlic and spices, and pour them the over the scallops as below. This will be a good seasoning in itself. However breadcrumbs turn them into an especially crisp and baked treat, so consider including them.
8. Now in turn pour the buttered bread crumb mixture over the scallops in the baking dish, being careful to distribute it evenly over all the scallops. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. It’s important not to overcook scallops because if you do they will become tough and chewy. That’s not what you want. They should be tender and easy to chew.
9. Some estimates say to bake scallops as long as 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Either will probably work adequately, but keep in mind that the longer they are in the oven the more chance they have to become dry and potentially overcooked, so watch them carefully.
10. Take the scallops out and serve them right away. You can garnish them with lemon wedges, parsley, or a salad. Good side dishes include rice and vegetables such as string beans, asparagus, and broccoli. As a beverage, white, semi-dry wines are often served. Though, again, scallops are commonly served as a side dish or appetizer, if you make enough they can serve as a great main course. Enjoy!