I am a believer that we don’t grill enough food. Beef isn’t the only grillable food! So today I bring you these grilled scallops with butter, garlic and white wine. It’s so delicious you won’t believe what’s going on in your mouth. It’s actually one of my favourite things that I’ve cooked in recent times. A must-make for sure!
It was fate
I love grilling and the whole ritual around it. I love standing around a heat source, cook interesting food on it and tasting that smokiness it gets. The bad news is that I don’t own a grill! The good news is I’m taking care of a friend’s grill while he moves. That means I’m going to be able to play a bit with it. Just this week I received some beautiful scallops. When they arrived I just thought “it’s fate.” Btw, you don’t need a bbq grill to make them. It does add an extra “je ne sais quoi” but you can still get a delicious result from a grill pan or even cast-iron pan. It’s the perfect appetizer for lunch or dinner.
The first (and only) time and I’ve had grilled scallops on a bbq grill is at the restaurant El Mercado in Lima. I have to say it’s my favourite restaurant in the world. And since lockdown is still active here in Chile and the frontiers are closed, I don’t think I’ll be traveling to Lima soon to have them. So I just went for it and made them at home! I don’t have the right words to tell you how good these are. It helps that the scallops were really delicious, but the sauce and the golden bits from the grill take them to a whole new level. Butter is such a good friend to scallops. And with that bit of garlic, lemon zest and white wine, they’re from another planet. I finished them with a few dill leaves which I love, but it’s optional. Get creative with any fresh herb you can find or have at home :).
Scallops usually come already clean, with just the scallop and roe. The meat or scallop is stuck to the shell and the roe’s stuck to the scallop. When you get them, give them a nice rinse under running water to remove any sand that could be left there. I removed the roe but it’s optional. I really rather have them roe-free! To remove the roe you just pull on it and you’ll see it will release itself. If you can only get scallops without the shell, don’t worry because you can still make them. You just need a Chinese-type spoon to place them in afterwards so that you can eat it along with the sauce.
For the sauce
- 30 g salted butter
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves puréed or finely chopped or grated
- 200 ml white wine
- Salt and pepper
For the grilled scallops
- Vegetable oil
- 12 scallops ideally stuck to their shell
- Dill leaves for serving (optional)
For the sauce
- Preheat a pan over medium heat. You can even do this over the grill if your pan can handle straight heat.
- Add the butter, lemon zest, garlic and mix for one minute.
- Add the white wine (be careful, it can splatter) all at once.
- Stir constantly until the white wine has evaporated completely. You will notice it has evaporated because you won't see any liquid under the butter, and also the butter will start to sizzle again.
For the grilled scallops
- Prep your scallops: rinse them well under running water to remove any sand that could be still there. I also remove the coral because I enjoy them more that way, but it's optional. Try to keep the scallop meat attached to the shell.
- Preheat you bbq grill to high heat (make sure to clean it beforehand). You can also use a grill-type pan, also nicely preheated. This is important because scallops only take a minute to cook and we need them to become golden in that short period of time.
- Use a brush (ideally silicone) to paint a bit of vegetable oil on the grill. Some oil will drop onto the heat source which could cause a flame to shoot up, it's normal.
- Place the scallops upside down onto the grill (shell on top, scallop touching the grill). Cook them without moving them around for 1 minute.
- Use a thin metal spatula to flip them. You want to insert the spatula in a swift move in case a bit of them got stuck. Flip them so that the scallop is now on top. Add a tablespoon of the sauce to each scallop (the sauce should be hot) and cook on this side for an extra minute.
- Serve immediately with dill leaves.