Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moroccan Baked Scallops

I will be the first to admit that scallops in our apartment tend to be epic failures.  Actually, I am being a bit hyperbolic there.  The few times we have tried to cook scallops they have tended to be quietly sad and disappointing.  Sometimes they are overcooked, sometimes they are underseasoned...  They just don't seem to work out for us.  But these scallops were by far the best scallops we have ever made.  They were beautifully cooked and very tasty.  The word that comes to mind is lovely.  The scallops were tender and silky, with a really nice crispy breadcrumb topping.  Texturally speaking, they were flawless.  And the compound butter added just the right level of spice and flavor without overpowering the natural sweetness and flavor of the scallops.  I was a huge fan.  Even Alex, who is generally not a big fan of scallops, was really impressed by this dish.  I think that one of the best things about this dish is that it could be the perfect dinner party dish because it is both elegant and delicious, but it could also be an easy midweek dinner dish because it is so easy to put together.  And the recipe would be easy to tweak to use slightly different flavor combinations.  I'm thinking it would be really easy to do Italian - use some parsley and lemon zest in the bread crumbs and garlic and more herbs in the compound butter.  Maybe add a little white wine to the bottom of the gratin dishes to add some steam and extra flavor?  I don't know.  I just know that I really really liked this recipe.  Thanks Serious Eats!

Recipe after the jump!

Moroccan Baked Scallops
Adapted from Serious Eats

1 lb U-10 dry sea scallops
Kosher salt
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp ras-el-hanout
1/2-1 tsp harissa

Preheat the broiler (we used our toaster oven broiler). Spray two to three small or one large gratin dish lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the scallops in a single layer in the dishes, and season with salt.

Mix the lemon zest, cilantro, and panko together in a small bowl. Sprinkle liberally over the scallops.

Mash together the butter, ras-el-hanout, and harissa in a small bowl. Place one dollop of compound butter on each scallop.

Broil scallops until the panko is crisp and golden and the scallops are opaque, about 10-12 minutes. 

Serve immediately.

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