Ah… Valentine’s Day. In our house, it’s just another “Hallmark Holiday” but I do treat my favorite guy with something special. This year, I chose to make a seafood dish since he loves seafood. Aside from shrimp, he has quite a fondness for scallops… big scallops. I know I could have made the usual broiled scallop dish but instead, I opted to make these Stuffed Scallops on The Half Shell. Beautiful scallop shells are filled with a mixture of bay scallops, onions, fresh herbs, and breadcrumbs and baked to a golden brown. The presentation is pretty, the filling is delicious and it’s a nice way to enjoy scallops if you don’t eat them very often.
This past New Year’s Eve, we had planned on making stuffed scallops as an appetizer but with all the other food we had, the scallops appetizers never came out of the kitchen. When my husband brought it up a few weeks ago, it inspired me to make it for him since it was a dish he was looking forward to.
Making these Stuffed Scallops was pretty easy and the filling reminded me of crab cakes. The filling took no time to make and you could prepare these in advance and freeze them before baking.
They make a great appetizer or a few could easily make a meal. Lastly, if you’re not sure where to get scallop shells, try asking your local fishmonger or seafood person at your local market.
About Stuffed Scallops
Stuffed scallops, also known as stuffed clams or baked stuffed scallops, are a popular dish in many coastal regions around the world. The history of stuffed scallops can be traced back to Native American cuisine, where clams and other shellfish were commonly used in traditional dishes. Over time, as European settlers arrived in America, they brought their own culinary traditions and techniques for preparing shellfish. Stuffed scallops became a popular dish in New England in the early 20th century, where they were often served as a part of a traditional clambake or seafood feast.
They have since become a classic dish in many coastal communities, often served with a side of coleslaw or potato salad. They are also commonly served in restaurants and seafood shacks throughout the region. In terms of cultural significance, stuffed scallops are an important part of the culinary heritage of many coastal communities. They represent the rich seafood traditions that have been passed down through generations and are often enjoyed as a symbol of local pride and identity.
Different Types of Scallops
There are three types of scallops that are popular in culinary dishes:
- Bay Scallops: Smaller in size and sweeter in taste, they are perfect for light sautés and salads.
- Sea Scallops: Larger and meatier, these are ideal for searing.
- Calico Scallops: Found primarily in the southern U.S., they have a distinct ridge pattern.
Cleaning and Shelling
While most scallops are sold without their shells, if you get your hands on whole scallops, ensure they are cleaned properly. The process involves removing the muscle and sand, leaving only the edible part.
Whether you’re searing, grilling, baking, or broiling, the key is not to overcook scallops. Their tender nature requires minimal cooking time.Print
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 small red bell pepper, minced
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 – 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 lb. bay scallops, diced and cleaned
- 18–20 cleaned scallop shells (2”-3”)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add diced onion and bell pepper and sauté until transparent.
- Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
- Stir in bread crumbs and herbs and brown the mixture, adding more wine if necessary to get a stuffing like consistency.
- Combine the scallops with the stuffing. Fill the scallop shells with the mixture.
- After the scallop shells are stuffed, place in 375°F oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm as an appetizer or as an entree.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: stuffed scallops, baked stuffed scallops, stuffed scallops on shell
Key Steps to Making Great Stuffed Scallops
Choose fresh scallops
It’s important to use fresh scallops to ensure the best flavor and texture. Look for scallops that are firm and slightly sweet smell.
Clean the scallops
Rinse the scallops in cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Remove the small, tough muscle from the side of each scallop (if still attached).
Prepare the stuffing
Choose a stuffing recipe that complements the flavor of the scallops. You can use breadcrumbs, vegetables, herbs, and spices to make the stuffing.
Stuff the scallops
Spoon the stuffing mixture into each scallop and press it down gently. Be careful not to overstuff the scallops as this can cause them to fall apart during cooking.
Garnish and serve
Once the scallops are cooked, garnish them with fresh herbs or lemon wedges and serve them hot.
Experiment with different stuffing variations
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different stuffing recipes to find your favorite. You can use a variety of ingredients, such as bacon, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and more to create unique flavor combinations.
Stuffed Scallops Health Benefits
Besides being absolutely delicious stuffed scallops are:
High in protein
Scallops are a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, as well as maintaining healthy bones, skin, and hair.
Low in fat
Scallops are relatively low in fat, which can make them a healthier option than other types of seafood or meat. When stuffed with vegetables, herbs, and whole grains, stuffed scallops can be a satisfying, yet nutritious meal.
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Scallops are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients play important roles in maintaining optimal health and preventing chronic disease.
Stuffed scallops can be customized to meet a variety of dietary needs and preferences. For example, they can be made with gluten-free breadcrumbs or other grain alternatives for those with gluten sensitivities, or stuffed with a variety of vegetables and herbs for a plant-based option.
Last but not least, stuffed scallops can be a delicious and satisfying meal for seafood lovers. The stuffing adds flavor and texture to the dish, making it a favorite among many seafood enthusiasts.
Complementary Sides to Go With Your Stuffed Scallops
What’s a dish without its perfect pair?
White wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc complement the dish beautifully, enhancing its flavors.
Think green beans, asparagus, or a simple salad. These light sides let the scallops shine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Scallops can become tough and rubbery if overcooked, or undercooked scallops can be unpleasantly raw and chewy. The key is to cook them just until they are tender and opaque throughout. To do this, it’s important to control the cooking temperature and time. For baking, preheat the oven to a high temperature, such as 425°F, and cook the scallops for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops. For grilling, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and cook the scallops for about 2-3 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on the scallops and check for doneness by cutting into one and checking the center. It should be opaque and tender, but not translucent or rubbery.
Yes, you can prepare stuffed scallops ahead of time, but it’s important to store them properly to prevent bacteria growth. Once stuffed, scallops should be kept refrigerated until ready to cook. They can be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. To prevent the stuffing from becoming soggy, it’s best to store the scallops in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet, covered tightly with plastic wrap.
Yes, stuffed scallops can be frozen for up to three months. To freeze, place the stuffed scallops in an airtight container or freezer bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Label and date the container and store it in the freezer. When ready to cook, defrost the scallops in the refrigerator overnight before baking or grilling them as usual. It’s important not to refreeze scallops that have already been thawed, as this can lead to bacteria growth and spoilage.
Conclusion: You Need These Stuffed Scallops in Your Life
Stuffed scallops offer a delicious and nutritious option for seafood lovers. They can be made with a variety of ingredients to create unique flavor combinations, making them a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different tastes and preferences. In addition to their great taste, scallops are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy choice for those looking to maintain a balanced diet. Furthermore, stuffed scallops can be a fun and impressive dish to serve at dinner parties or special occasions. With a little bit of preparation and some simple cooking techniques, anyone can make this delcious dish at home.