Monday, July 29, 2013
Dock of the Bay Scallop Gratiné
Bay Scallops are the candy of the seafood world. These little bitty morsels cook to perfection in no time, demanding only minimal seasoning but in return render a creamy taste and velvety texture. As a gratin, we’re cooking our scallops while protecting them with a blanket of crumbs and butter and garlic and other good things. By the time the scallops are barely done cooking, that blanket will have melted and coated the little guys with all kinds of flavor essences designed to enhance their natural sweetness.
The late Otis Redding wrote “Dock of the Bay” while staying on a houseboat in Sausalito, California a few months after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. This has absolutely nothing to do with Bay Scallops, which are an Atlantic bivalve species, but the song is one of my favorites – so there!
Dock of the Bay Scallop Gratiné
Yield: 4 servings Preparation Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 12 minutes
• 7 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened but not at room temperature
• 6 Cloves Garlic, smashed to remove skin
• 2 Shallots, cut in quarters
• 1 Slice Prosciutto, weighing 2 ounces, roughly chopped
• 4 Tablespoons fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
• 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
• 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
• 4 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
• 2 Pounds Bay Scallops, cleaned
• Lemon and fresh Flat Leaf Parsley sprigs, for garnish
• 1 French Baguette, cut into four pieces and sliced almost all the way through.
Step 1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Step 2. Very lightly coat the inside of four, 2 cup, oval gratin dishes with 1 tablespoon of the Butter and arrange the dishes on a large baking sheet.
Step 3. Put the remaining 6 tablespoons of Butter in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times. Add the Garlic, Shallots, Prosciutto, Parsley, 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, and Pepper and process until thoroughly combined.
Step 4. With the food processor running, add the olive oil slowly through the feed tube until combined. Remove the butter mixture to a medium bowl, stir in the Panko and set aside.
Step 5. Place 1 tablespoon of the Wine in the bottom of each buttered gratin dish. Rinse and pat the scallops dry with paper towels and divide them among the dishes. Spoon the topping loosely over the top of the scallops. Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes, until the dishes are sizzling and the crust is lightly colored. (The scallops are almost, but not fully cooked at this point.) Leave the baking sheet on the center rack and turn the oven heat to broil for 2 minutes to finish cooking the Scallops and toast the coating. Remove from the oven.
Step 6. Use a zester to strip long threads of zest from the Lemon. Cut the zested Lemon in half and drizzle each dish with a few drops of juice. Sprinkle the Lemon Zest threads over the dishes and garnish with a sprig of the parsley.
Serve immediately with one baguette piece per serving, encouraging your guests to tear off bits of bread to soak up the all the liquid goodness left in the bottom of the gratins.
Tips and Trending
~ To determine if your gratin dish is large enough, or not too big, fill it with 2 cups of water. The surface of the water should be about ½” from the rim of the dish.
~ This recipe is designed to produce four ½ pound main course servings, but you can use smaller gratin dishes to create eight smaller appetizer or fish-course sized servings. Use care and check the doneness after 8 minutes during the initial baking period to avoid overcooking the scallops. The broiling time will remain the same.
~ Make sure you just crumble the butter and panko mixture over the scallops. If you press down and seal them in, the crust will not get all crispy and toasty and you’ll throw off the cooking time.
~ Here’s a cook’s tip: When you unwrap sticks of butter, keep the paper wrappers. Fold them over with the buttery side in and put them in a zippered storage bag in the freezer. Now you have convenient single use devices you can use to butter future baking dishes. (Thanks to Martha Stewart for that one!)