The holidays are quickly approaching, so I am busy collecting recipes and making lists for holiday baking and family meals. Although I do love the idea of staying home Christmas Eve and preparing a big multi-course meal for the Feast Of The Seven Fishes, we also prepare a large meal on Christmas Day, so it ends up with me spending a lot of time in the kitchen rather than with the family.
Over the past few years since the grandkids are older, we began to make reservations at a nice restaurant on Christmas Eve instead of dining at home. This special Christmas Eve dinner has become a treasured family tradition that usually ends with a drive around a local subdivision that takes holiday decorating very seriously while listening to holiday carols.
Since we dine out on Christmas Eve, we all work together preparing a big Italian feast on Christmas Day that we enjoy together without feeling that we are spending all of our time in the kitchen.
Despite the fact that we have given up our Christmas Eve seafood meal at home, I do add a few seafood specialties into some of our other meals over the holidays as everyone in the family loves seafood. These scallops are an easy, quick to prepare appetizer that the entire family enjoys and they would be a great starter for any holiday meal.
When choosing scallops, if you live near the sea and have a reputable seafood purveyor, fresh is always best. Quick-frozen scallops are probably a better choice if you are unsure about how fresh the scallops are. Thaw frozen scallops overnight in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Scallops are often soaked in a phosphate solution that makes them nice and white, but it also causes them to absorb more liquid and can increase their weight significantly.
When cooked, the scallops will release this extra liquid making it difficult to sear them nicely. For this reason, dry packed, or chemical free scallops are a better choice. Like shrimp, scallops are sold by count-per-pound. For example, sea scallops might be marked at 10/20, which just means that between 10 and 20 scallops are in each pound.
In Italy, scallops are sold still attached to half their shell with the roe intact, though that’s usually difficult to find in the US. I bought scallops in the shell for this dish as shown in the photo, but you can also use small shell plates.
- 12 Fresh Cleaned Medium to Large Scallops On The Half Shell, Coral Intact If Possible
- 3/4 Cup Chopped Ripe Tomatoes
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
- 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 1/3 Cups Dry Breadcrumbs
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, Diced
- Preheat broiler to 450 degreesF.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven.
- In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Drizzle this mixture over the scallops.
- Place the scallops on a foil lined baking sheet and place on the center rack.
- Broil 5 to 6 minutes.
- Scatter the breadcrumbs over the scallops, then top with the diced butter.
- Broil for an additional 5 minutes, or until the scallops are tender and the crumbs are golden brown.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 scallops
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g