The first time I ever ate scallops, I was a young girl and my family was visiting Paris for a long weekend (we were living in Germany at the time). We had gone to a restaurant for dinner and on the menu, the dish was called Coquilles St. Jacques St. Germaine. Now you may think it strange that a 9-year old would keep the name of a dish (in French no less!) in her head and recall it so many years later, but there is a good reason. In that version of the dish, the scallops were mounded in the middle of the plate and piped around them in beautiful swirls were the creamiest, smoothest, butteriest mashed potatoes (that the French do like nobody else) I had ever tasted in my young life. I don’t remember much about the scallops, they were a minor player that day– but I’ll never, ever forget those potatoes.
After that build-up, you may be wondering why today’s post isn’t about those mashed potatoes. Well, that’s because I am quite sure that they had some totally-unPC-amount of butter in them, and while I’m not above trying something like that for a very special occasion—a Sunday in August is not that day.
But a Sunday in August is a good day for a lovely dish of scallops baked in a lovely mix of white wine, butter and breadcrumbs—add a light green salad and a glass of iced tea with mint or a crisp white wine—and dinner is done.
Bay Scallops Gratin
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 pound bay scallops, rinsed and drained (see note below)
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs (or any other slightly coarse breadcrumb you prefer)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the scallops, the white wine and the melted butter. Transfer the mixture to an oval casserole dish, or individual open proof ramekins. In another small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, paprika and Parmesan cheese. Spread the breadcrumb mix over the scallops.
Bake until the scallops are firm and the top is nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
Note: Bay scallops are the little ones; they are sweet and light—perfect for the delicate flavors of this dish. Sea scallops will work too, but I tend to save those for bolder flavorings.