Monday, February 16, 2009

Recipe: Broiled Scallops with Corn Meal

In my experience, you either love scallops, or you hate 'em. I happen to love scallops. I'm not talking about those tiny little bay scallops that get overcooked in about 1.2 seconds and are devoid of flavor even when not overcooked. I'm talking about sea scallops. Big honkers, ideally.

This recipe combines some of the finer ingredients available to the connoisseur of seafood: bacon, white wine, fresh herbs, and lemon. Enjoy!

  • 10 large sea scallops
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium shallot (or a quarter of an onion)
  • 2 oz chopped bacon (about 3 slices)
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh parsley or basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon's worth)
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin, ideally)
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine (e.g. chardonnay)
Pre-heat oven on 500 degrees F. Pulse garlic and shallots in a food processor to mince it finely—maybe 20 seconds total. Add fresh herbs and hit it for another few seconds to mince the herbs. Then add the butter, lemon juice, sherry, salt and pepper. Mix it around a bit with a spatula to incorporate everything. Turn the food processor on, and pour in the olive oil. The whole shebang will turn into kind of a soupy paste.

Remove it from the food processor, and add the corn meal and mix around. Taste it. Adjust as necessary with salt and pepper... taste should be robust. Then add the (uncooked) bacon and mix one final time.

Pour white wine in a medium cast iron skillet, and then place the scallops in the wine. Be sure to leave space between each scallop so they can broil (and not poach). Pour the corn meal mix over each scallop liberally, and then toss in the oven to broil.

Monitor the scallops closely. You want to pull them and serve immediately when they are not quite cooked through (depending on your tastes). This will probably take 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the scallops. If they are 1-2 inches in diameter, it may take 10 minutes. If they are 2-3 inches, it might take a bit more time. Keep poking them as they cook. You'll feel the flesh really start to tighten up once they are cooking through. Did I say serve immediately?


  1. Do you recommend one brand over another of cast iron skillet?

  2. I generally recommend buying American cast iron... which for the most part means Lodge, Wagner, or Camp Chef.

    I hate to sound sino-phobic... but I would not buy any cast iron (or other cooking implements, or food) that is made in China due to possible contamination from lead, etc.

  3. I was just wondering... You used wine in cast iron. I've heard that cooking with acidic foods is not good for the iron. Is that amount of wine not really going to have an effect? Also, I really wanted to try a recipe for braised short ribs, but the recipe calls for braising for a couple of hours with 1:1 stock to wine ratio. Would that be recommended in a fairly new non enameled cast iron dutch oven? Thanks

    1. Hi there,

      I've never had trouble with high acid foods/sauces in my bare cast iron. But I use them a LOT and they have a pretty robust seasoning on them. I think the scallops recipe would be fine in your newer pan... but the short ribs one may be more problematic. If you don't have an enameled dutch oven, you could probably use a stainless steel pot or pan just as well.

      Hope that helps!



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