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~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~

PICT4032I am here today to report scallop abuse.  Over the weekend I ordered pan-seared sea scallops in a restaurant.  I was less than impressed -- overcooked on the outside, undercooked on the inside.  It was disheartening because they were really big and beautiful, and, I never relish sending a dish back to the kitchen in any establishment -- ever.  That said, as one who knows a thing or three about cooking scallops, I do get somewhat upset when a restaurant chef doesn't know, or hasn't taken the time to teach the person in charge of cooking the scallops, how to pan-sear scallops (plus, undercooked seafood simply is not safe to eat), so, back they went.  During a brief conversation at our table, my friend asked, "can scallops just be broiled"?  "Of course", I said, "it's one of my favorite ways to cook them, and, I think that'll be one of my next blog posts!"

PICT3574A bit about scallops:  Scallops are shellfish, mechanically similar to clams, and the round part we all eat is the abductor muscle that hinges the two shells together.  Because they do not survive for very long out of water, they are almost always sold shucked (out of the shells):

PICT4056Bay scallops, the smaller of the two are about 1/2" in diameter and come about 100 to the pound.  Sea scallops are about 1 1/2" in diameter and come about 30 to the pound. They both range from pale ivory to creamy pink in color, and, when properly cooked, produce sweet, succulent meat, with the small bay scallop being slightly sweeter.  As with all fish and shellfish, they should be kept refrigerated and used within one or two days of purchasing.

PICT0984Scallops are at their best when cooked as briefly as possible, and, they are best suited for simple cooking methods like sauteing, broiling or poaching, although breading and deep-frying is quite good too. I like and use both bay and sea scallops, but don't usually use them interchangeably.  

I like to add the small bay scallops to seafood soups and stews or poach them and serve them chilled on a seafood salad.  You can find PICT3589my recipe for ~ Provencal Seafood (Lobster) Stew w/Lemon Rice ~ in Categories 2, 11, 14, 21.

As for the larger sea scallops, I like to broil or pan-sear them and serve them as a main course.  When broiling or searing them, my general rule is "keep it simple", meaning:  no heavy breading or overpowering sauces, that can mask their delicate, sweet flavor. This incredibly simple broiling method I'm  sharing with you today is one of my all-time favorites!

PICT3494Brown butter = a secret weapon of all great chefs and home cooks! 

The French term for it is "beurre noisette", and, it refers to butter that has simply been simmered over low heat until it turns hazelnut in color. As the butter melts, the milk solids sink to the bottom and as the butter simmers, the milk solids turn brown and take on a scrumptious nutty flavor.  It is commonly flavored with an acid such as lemon juice, white wine, or both.  In the case of the following recipe, the broiler is going to do the browning for you!

PICT395324  large, wild, sea scallops

4  tablespoons salted butter

1 1/2  teaspoons garlic powder

3/4-1  teaspoon ground red pepper

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

2  tablespoons fresh lemon juice

no-stick cooking spray

lemon zest, reserved from above lemon, for garnish

red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

PICT3963 ~ Step 1.  Rinse the scallops under cold running water.  Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain and dry for about 5-10 minutes.

Spray a 9"-round au gratin dish (or a glass pie plate) with no-stick cooking spray and arrange the scallops, side-by-side, in the bottom of the dish.

PICT3972 ~ Step 2.  Using a microplane grater, zest the lemon.  Set the zest aside.

In a 1-cup measuring container, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the garlic powder, ground red pepper and sea salt.  Through a fine mesh strainer, juice 1/2 of the lemon and add it to the butter mixture.  Stir the mixture thoroughly.

PICT3467 ~ Step 3.  Position the oven rack as close to 8" under the broiler element of your oven as your oven allows.  Preheat the broiler.

Using a pastry brush, distribute the butter mixture evenly over the top and sides of of the scallops.

Broil the scallops for about 8-10 minutes, or as long as 10-12 minutes (depending upon where your oven rack is situated and the heat of your broiler), or until the butter is golden brown and bubbly.

PICT3618Step 4.  Serve immediately.  I like to serve my scallops atop my recipe for ~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood ~, which you can find in Categories 4 or 14, accompanied by some quick-to-make tomato concasse*.  Lastly, I garnish the entire dish with additional lemon zest and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.  

*Note:  Concasse" (kawn-ka-SAY), is a French noun and verb that means to rough chop or grind any ingredient, classically tomatoes, into small, even-sized pieces.  

PICT3574I often use a 28-ounce can of high-quality canned Roma tomatoes to make concasse.  I drain, seed and uniformly chop them (rough chop, small dice, medium dice or large dice, your choice).  The tomatoes are added and sauteed over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes in 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO, which has been seasoned with a sprinkling of sea salt, red pepper flakes and a squirt of fresh lemon juice, to taste.

Perfectly cooked & perfectly presented, sea scallop perfection:

PICT4032Boiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter:  Recipe yields 6 entree servings as shown in the above picture.

Special Equipment List:  paper towels; 9"-round au gratin dish or glass pie plate; microplane grater; 1-cup measuring container; fine mesh strainer; pastry brush

6a0120a8551282970b014e88d2861c970dCook's Note:  These scallops make a lovely starter or main course at a sit-down dinner if broiled in small, individual-sized, round- or oval-shaped au gratin dishes.  This 6 1/2" dish easily holds 6-8 scallops, smaller au gratins hold 3-4. Divide/drizzle the butter mixture evenly amongst the dishes and broil as directed -- the size of the dish does not affect the timing.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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