How do YOU pronounce scallops, those tasty, saltwater bi-valves?
I heard myself ordering them at the fish counter recently – it went something like “I’d like a half pound of skal-ups, please.” Holy cow. No one would ever believe I’m originally from New England. . .
Why? Because there are purists from that iconic area who believe that the only correct way to pronounce it is “skawl-up” and that anyone who says it like “gallup” (like me) should be banished from the New England states. Tough stuff, but die-hard New Englanders know who’s an outsider 🙂
In my defense, living in Florida for 27 years has caused me to lose a bit of my dialect. But I’m sure if you stuck me at a table at the Cape Cod Scallop Festival I’d fit right in, ‘cause it all comes back quickly.
So now that we know the “correct” way to pronounce it, let’s talk about this tasty dish.
The season for little Florida scallops is nearing its close (September 24?) and I enjoyed some harvested and shared by friends who make an annual trip to Crystal River. My plan was to share this recipe showcasing them, but my photos were absolutely pitiful, which I learned AFTER I had eaten all the scallops! Sometimes being a food blogger isn’t all that easy you know.
So, I changed things up and bought sea scallops at Detwiler’s — coincidentally, they were flown in from Cape Cod. My inspiration for a topping came from a seafood dish Chef Steve Phelps prepared at the recent Sustainable Seafood dinner in Sarasota. This casserole had wild, farmed and invasive species in one dish – Lionfish, Beeliners (Snapper) and Two Docks Clams – paired with potatoes and topped with delicious, crunchy, buttery, tarragon bread crumbs. So delicious that I would put those breadcrumbs on even liver and gobble it up.
I decided to incorporate fresh tarragon into my pine nut/Panko/lemon topping for these seared scallops. Once I got a nice sear on one side of each scallop, I flipped them in the pan, topped them with this tasty stuff and popped them under the broiler. You probably already know, but it’s important not to over-cook scallops because they’ll get tough and chewy. For this dish, it took a total of about 3 minutes to cook them just right — they were tender and juicy inside and crunchy, buttery outside. Yum.
By the way, as I pulled this dish together I had a little helper. . .our new pup, Libby. She’s 50% Maltese, 50% Jack Russell, and 100% adorable. She loves to sit on her kitchen stool to watch me cook. Something tells me you’ll be seeing more of this cute little face in future posts 🙂
P.S. if you want to know the two secrets to achieving a good sear on sea scallops, here goes: 1) pat scallops with a paper towel to ensure they’re DRY and 2) use a screaming hot pan drizzled with butter or olive oil, and place those dry scallops right into it. It only takes about 2 minutes on that first side to get a nice, brown crust.
- ¼ c. Panko bread flakes
- 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
- 1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
- 1 T. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tb. minced pine nuts (or slivered almonds)
- Zest ½ lemon
- Pinch kosher salt
- Few grinds fresh black pepper
- 2 Tb. melted butter
- 10-12 sea scallops (about ½ lb.)
- 1 Tb. unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Lemon wedges for sprinkling over cooked scallops
- Set broiler to High.
- Prepare Topping in a small bowl: mix all ingredients and stir to ensure everything is coated with melted butter; set aside.
- Pat dry scallops with a paper towel - both sides, ensuring no moisture remains.
- Heat a non-stick, oven-proof pan on High. When it's VERY hot, add the butter, then immediately place each scallop in the pan. Don't do anything for about 2 minutes! Then check to see that the bottom has a nice brown sear, and flip with tongs.
- Once you flip, top each scallop with a pinch of the Panko mixture - enough to make a little mound. Sprinkle each with a little olive oil (or use a tiny dab of butter).
- Place the pan under the broiler for about 30 seconds - keep an eye on it to ensure it's not burning - you just want to crisp and brown the topping.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.