Thursday, March 12, 2015

Scallop Gratin – When it Comes to Scallops, Dry is Good

As far as I’m concerned, a simple gratin is the most delicious way to cook fresh scallops. The technique is infinitely adaptable, and as long as you’re keeping an eye on things during the broiler step, not a lot can go wrong. In fact, the only real way to screw this recipe up would be to use the wrong scallops.

And by “wrong,” I mean any that have been soaked in a preservative brine. These are easy to identify, as they’re usually sitting in a pool of milky liquid. What you want are usually sold as wild “day-boat,” “diver,” or “dry-pack” scallops. They are really expensive, and worth every penny.

Brined scallops have an unpleasant aftertaste, leak out tons of water, and shrink down to nothing. Other than that, they’re great. Ideally you’re getting your scallops fresh, but frozen will work, as long as the ingredient label says nothing but “scallops.” You’ll also want to thaw them slowly, and pat dry thoroughly before using.

This is a great dish for parties, as you can prep your ramekins ahead of time, and then pop them in the oven when you’re ready. I can’t give exact times, since this will depend on the size of your scallops, and dish, but just start in a nice hot oven for a few minutes, and then finish under the broiler, until browned and just cooked through. When the scallops spring back to the touch, they should be done.

Like I said in the video, if you’re not confident cooking seafood, and/or haven’t worked with scallops before, this gratin is a great place to start. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 portions:
1/4 cup crème fraiche
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup decent white wine
8 fresh scallops (mine were trimmed, but if need be, pull off any “feet,” which are tough, small pieces of muscle sometimes attached to the side of the scallop)
2 tablespoon melted butter, plus more as needed
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
French bread to dip


Blue Arc said...

Looks delicious Chef!

Chris K. said...

This looks great.

Be careful when buying fresh scallops. I've seen dishonest fishmongers passing off skate trimmed to look like scallops (and priced accordingly). It happens more frequently than you might think.

Chef John said...

That's funny, since I can never get any decent skate around here. I wish someone would pull that on me. ;)

daniel_dominguez said...

I wanna Ask.. would this still taste great if we burn off the alcohol in the wine for religious purpose?

And everything you make is worth the many mistakes in my kicthen..

Thanks Chef

daniel_dominguez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cured Pork Belly said...

Not bad.. Minus the bread and it makes a pretty good low- keto meal!

Chef John said...

You never cook off 100% of the alcohol, but after three or four minutes in a hot oven, and about the same under a hot broiler, it is true that most of this alcohol would be evaporated by the time the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Michael B said...

Chef John,
Could scallops be replaced with a firm white fish like halibut or cod?

Chef John said...

Sure, you can do this with other firm white fish!

GagoX said...

Hi Chef,
thanks for the video.
One question: why don't you use the red part of the scallop?...IMO it tastes awesome and looks great.

Chibby said...

Hey! I like the "foot" on the scallops :3

WNY Kitchen Garden said...

I'm seriously coveting the round gratin dishes used for both the scallop gratin and brandade. Could you please dish (see what I did there) either the brand or where one of your loyal followers might purchase such fine ceramic bakeware?

gaby said...

Chef John,can you replace the wine with something else?

Jason Smith said...

I have to admit -- as a sauté snob...I was a wee bit skeptical. After trying this recipe, I am now a convert.


Chef John said...

It's a great change of pace!

Chef John said...

These did not come with the roe!

Chef John said...

Sorry I don't remember what the brand of the ramekins is. I got them at a restaurant supply store in San Francisco called Trimark!