We recently made a quick trip to Venice with family since they had never visited this remarkable city, and we needed a seafood fix. We spent two nights and arrived by noon our first day. We always park at a garage by Piazzale Roma, take the water bus to the city, and stay at a hotel near San Marco. We wanted to share our favorite bacari bars for lunch with our family, so we had to traipse back near where we parked our car in a hurried rush. We finally found the three bacari bars we wanted to visit, and enjoyed a selection of chicchetti with glasses of crisp white wine.
Our second and only full day in Venice, we left by water bus for Burano. I adore Burano with its multi-colored buildings, and we try to visit every time we visit Venice. Of course, we cannot visit Burano without dining at Gatto Nero, an osteria that serves fantastic seafood. Many of the waiters have worked at the restaurant for years, and although we only visit once a year, they always remember us. Because we were planning to eat another large meal for dinner, I tried to order lighter selections for lunch. I asked for scallops as my appetizer and had shrimp as my main course. Two scallops were prepared like I usually do at home, with a crumb topping, and two scallops were topped with tomato sauce. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve never eaten scallops in tomato sauce unless it was in a mixed seafood pasta dish, but they were delicious. For me, this is Italian food at its finest…..just a few of the best and freshest ingredients, carefully blended, and allowed to shine in perfect simplicity.
On our last morning in Venice, we visited the seafood market and bought a cooler full of seafood to take home to Umbria with us. I bought scallops so I could replicate the tasty dish I enjoyed at Gatto Nero in Burano, and it is now my favorite way to cook scallops. The tomato sauce helps to keep the scallops very moist, and the juices from the scallop mix with the sauce and olive oil creating a delicious nectar that you will need bread to sop up. When I first tasted the scallops in tomato sauce at Gatto Nero, they topped the scallops with grated Parmesan cheese. The first time I made them at home, I too added the cheese, and it was very tasty. Since the general rule is not to mix cheese and seafood, my second time preparing the scallops in sauce, I skipped the cheese. I honestly enjoyed both versions so will leave the option of adding grated cheese up to you.
When it comes to any seafood, I believe that fresh is always better, but if you are unsure as to just how fresh your scallops are, quick-frozen scallops may be a better choice. Thaw frozen scallops overnight in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Here in Italy, scallops are sold still attached to half their shell with the roe intact, though that’s usually difficult to find in the States. You can buy seafood shells to use in this recipe at most kitchen supply stores.
Trattoria Al Gatto Nero
Via Giudecca, 88, 30142
Burano, Venezia VE
Ph -041 730120
Venice Seaffod Market
Fresh Scallops At The Market
Deborah Mele 2016
Baked Scallops With Tomato Sauce
- 12 Medium Sized Scallops, Cleaned
- 1 Cup Quick Tomato Sauce (Or Tomato Sauce Of Choice)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place each of the scallops on a half shell, and place all 12 shells on a baking sheet.
- Spoon a tablespoon of tomato sauce on each scallop, then lightly drizzle with olive oil.
- If using the cheese, sprinkle on top of each scallop.
- Place the scallops in the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until scallops feel firm to the touch.
- Serve immediately along with crusty Italian bread.