Monday, October 24, 2011

Bay Scallops with Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce – I’ll Have the Nostalgia on Toast

They say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory recall, and that was certainly the case while making these garlicky, buttery bay scallops on toast. As waves of the wonderful aromas wafted up from the pan, they brought back a flood of vivid memories of my first real kitchen job.

Barely a teenager, I was hired as a dishwasher at an Italian steakhouse, called The Depot (pictured below is the train station that predated the restaurant). While it was fun being inside a bustling kitchen, washing dishes was anything but. By comparison, what I saw the line cooks doing looked like the greatest job ever, and this certainly played a role in my future career plans.

Anyway, there was a scallop dish on the menu, which consisted of 6 large scallops being placed in a small metal broiler plate, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then doused with wine, lemon, garlic, and butter. This was placed under the flame until the scallops were browned, and the sauce was bubbling below. It was finished with fresh parsley, and served with toasted Italian bread for dipping into the amazing juices.

(c) All rights reserved by John R. Stewart
The smell of that sizzling plate as it went by my station was almost too much to take, and once in a while, thanks to some kind of ordering mishap, I’d actually get to eat one. It was pure bliss, and a flavor combination I still love to this day.

By the way, unlike the large day-boat scallops you’re seen me cook before, these are way too small to worry about searing brown. In a restaurant kitchen, if we’re just cooking a couple ounces, we could get a decent sear and still finish the sauce without overcooking. But doing this many at home, all we really need to concentrate on, is not over cooking them. Besides, bay scallops are so naturally sweet, tender, and delicious, the sear is not as important as with the larger ones.

As I mention in the video, this makes a beautiful appetizer, but will also make a killer pasta sauce with some cream added in to stretch it. I hope you can find some small, wild scallops soon (frozen are great, as long as “Scallops” is the only ingredient listed on the bag), and give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4-6 appetizer size portions:
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pound bay scallops
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine (NOT cooking wine)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp cold butter, cubed
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
buttered and toasted Italian bread slices
*Note for pasta sauce, add a 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with the wine, and proceed as shown. Should make enough sauce for about 4 portions of pasta)

23 comments:

Adolf Snarn said...

I thought it would be hard to top the chicken bacon ranch skewers, but lo and behold... Scallops.
You're on a roll here Chef John, site keeps getting better and better.

( you used the wrong by in buy comparison in your article. I'm not an asshole though so I won't point that out)

Superb!

Sandra from Montreal said...

Oh, these look so good! Simple, fast and fantastic! Definitely on the menu for this week! Thank you!

Chris K. said...

What a timely post! I was just thinking about making seafood pasta for supper tomorrow, with scallops, fresh roasted red pepper, and a buerre blanc sauce.

etamar said...

dear chef john,
i have a confeceion to make:
i HATE parsly, just cant stand it
what can i use instead?

your loyale reader and fellow foodwisher,
etamar.

Anonymous said...

Chef all scallops (sea, bay) come in dry or in brine.
I personally dislike the brined scallops very much, but very much love me some U5 American Dry Sea Scallops (Mass, Vermont area).
The brine is famous for Far-Eastern Scallops (although you can buy Far-east Scallops that are dry as well, or local scallops with brine), a lot of time the brine is spiked with chemicals so that the scallops retain more water and they appear much larger than they actually are (thats why you see shrimps and scallops shrink in size once hitting the heat).

As usual wonderful recipe!

Chef John said...

etamar,
How about another herb you don't hate? ;-)

Jacque said...

When making as pasta sauce, do you still cook until the liquid comes to a boil? Does that overcook the scallops?

Chef John said...

Just add the scallops right at the end, after you boil the cream for a minute.

Cody said...

Hey Chef John. Question about the hot hot hot olive oil. I've always been told that you never heat olive oil past a certain temperature (where it smokes), or it will become carcinogenic. Why didn't you choose ghee or refined coconut oil?

Chef John said...

I wanted the flavor of olive oil, and I'm not concerned whatsoever about carcinogens. First of all, you add it as soon as you see the first wisp of smoke, you don't let it continue to smoke and burn. Also, the amount of carcinogens from this is probably like 100 times less than a single charbroiled burger or steak. Relax.

Bobolink said...

Hey Chef, I got an idea as you mentioned the importance of using dry scallops. Could you put them in a salad spinner to dry them more thoroughly?

Chef John said...

You could, but paper towels work fine.

Samantha said...

Hey chef just wanted to say that I'm a HUGE fan of your site! Anyway I was planning on making these tomorrow for dinner but I'm worried that I won't be able to find these small bay scallops in my store. I live in a small town in Indiana and where I live we don't even have a famers market :( do you think I could find them at Marsh?

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure what Marsh is! May be tough finding bay scallops in a small town. You can also use small (raw) shrimp if you have to.

Samantha said...

Thanks for the reply! Do you cook the shrimp the same? Also, do you think that i could find them at kroger?

Samantha said...

UPDATE: I went to my local grocery sotre and they suprisingly did have frozen bay scallops. So I made them for dinner as an appetizer along with a chicken breast I made, your creamed spinach, and your dark chocolate mousse. Needless to say everything was amazing and all of my family loved it! Thanks again for the great recipes! :)

Anonymous said...

Chef John, what can i replace white wine with?

Thanks in advance.

AnyThing said...

Chef John need a replace ment for the white wine, since i can't buy white wine. I there anything that can replace it?

Anonymous said...

Bay Scallops with Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce

Ingredients for 4-6 appetizer size portions:
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pound bay scallops (drained well and dried)
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine (NOT cooking wine)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp cold butter, cubed
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
buttered and toasted Italian bread slices (lightly buttered and browed in broiler)
*Note for pasta sauce, add a 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream with the wine, and proceed as shown. Should make enough sauce for about 4 portions of pasta)

Prep ALL before hand. Very hot olive oil till pan starts to smoke. add scallops and let sear for 30 sec. (let SIZZLE, not boil). toss with spoon and add garlic. sizzle for 30 secs. Add white wine and lemon juice. 20 seconds to a boil, then add parsley and cold butter chunks - TURN OFF HEAT. when butter is melted, season with salt, cheyanne, black pepper. add scallops to toast and bathe with sauce.

Anonymous said...

looks amazing i am so gonna try this!! but i was wondering if i could just use big scallops and cut them small-er?
nikki

Chef John said...

Works with any size!

Tiara D said...

Chef John, you stated that when you want to make this a pasta sauce, to add the scallops at the end, after boiling the cream, but you never have the sauce without the scallops in it. Do you take them out and then add your cream and put them back in?

Chef John said...

Yes! Add back when sauce is ready.