Quick and simple, this hot smoked scallops dish adds an extra dimension of mellow smokiness to fresh King scallops in a hot herb butter. It makes an excellent starter or, for a main, just cook more.
1. To prepare, prize the shells open with sharp knife or shucking knife. Cut the scallops free from any sinewy skirt and muscle. Retain the orange roe.
2. Rinse the scallops very gently and place on a sheet of kitchen towel to aborb any moisture.
3. Meanwhile take one half of the shell and clean away any remaining muscle which has been attached to the scallops.
4. Melt the butter in a pan and add the freshly chopped parsley, chives and black pepper. Mix together. (You can vary the herbs and spices in your butter, try paprika for a bit of smoky heat, or dill and lemon for a more traditional seafood pairing).
5. Bring your BBQ up to temperature. You won’t need a massive charcoal base, but allow it to burn down a little before you add a handful of maple chips. A quick dousing of water on the chips before adding to your coals will help them release their smoky flavour rather than more bitter tones from burning too dryly.
6. The goal is to lightly griddle the scallops, ideally using a cast iron pan, and then return to their shells for a drizzle of herb butter. Add a light coating of oil to your griddle and using tongs place gently on the cooking surface. They will only need a short time to cook, just a minute or two on the first side and even less when turned over. Aim to brown lightly.
7. Using a smoker basket or grilling tray, lay out the empty shells and place the scallops back into their shells, add a spoonful of the herb butter put back on your BBQ grill rack just for another minute or so. Remove, add a twist of freshly ground black pepper and they’re ready to eat!
A note on where to buy your scallops: If you can get free dived rather than dredged you will have the very best, most ecologically sound and of course, the priciest. These hand caught scallops are literally hand harvested from the ocean bed whilst commercial harvesting of scallops is dredging. The latter can be a bit gritty, plus this form of fishing can damage the environment by disturbing the sea bed.
David from Hot Smoked has had the pleasure of spending a day on the water with Greenstraight Scallops in the South Hams and watching Jamie dive on a single breath to harvest wild king scallops. For our cooking exercise on this occasion we didn’t have the luxury of Jamie’s absolutely amazing scallops, but instead we bought ours frozen from The Fish Society, another great company, and were very pleased with the results. A quick freshness test is that your scallops shouldn’t smell fishy, but just have an aroma of the sea!
- king scallops in their shells (allow two or three per person)
- 100g butter
- chopped fresh herbs – try parsley and chives
- black pepper