Scallops Gratin

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It’s become a weekly ritual that my very busy group of friends gathers in my kitchen at 7pm on Friday evenings with groceries and multiple bottles of wine. There is always an equal ratio of wine to whining plus a good amount of laugher and casual collaborative cooking. We started calling this suppers “family dinners” because they are so easy and laid back that it’s like being at home with family. No dress code, anything goes and all conversations stay in “the vault.” It’s my sanity at the end of crazy weeks in the office and I’m so grateful to have likeminded friends seeking the easy nights on Mendenhall.

This past Friday we prepared a super simple scallop gratin, a green salad with almonds and dried currants, crusty bread and lots of good red wine. The scallop recipe is an adjustment from Ina Garten’s Bay Scallop Gratin. I skipped the Pernod and white wine because I like to cut corners and I used Sea Scallops because I prefer the flavor. Speaking of flavor, I would reduce the amount of garlic if you don’t prefer a very strong  garlic flavor (super intense, Ina!).

I love this recipe because it can be prepared the night before and just baked quickly before friends arrive. It gives just enough time to pop up a bottle of wine and start a fire.

Is it Friday yet?

Scallop Gratin 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large garlic cloves, minced (or fewer)
2 medium shallots, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 cup panko
2 pound fresh sea scallops
Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 6 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.

To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.

Preheat the broiler, if it’s separate from your oven.

Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want the top crustier, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

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