Every once in a while (not too often, mind you!) I get a little stumped about what to make for dinner next. Not that I don’t have a towering stack of ideas in my “to-make” folder – I do! – but nothing speaks to me. When that happens I tend to ask the Southern husband if he is especially yearning for anything in particular, and he always seems to be yearning for the same thing. Scallops. He adores scallops, especially the big juicy sea scallop kind. So after I asked this question recently, and he once again answered “scallops,” it occurred to me that I had never made my own version of the old classic scallops wrapped in bacon.
You need to get the nice big scallops for this one, and here’s a little background info from me to you on buying scallops. Ask for “dry” scallops when you are buying them, and here’s why: those big scallops come in two varieties, wet and dry. They all look the same to you and me, but the “wet” ones are treated with a preservative that makes them heavier AND makes them shrink up a little when they cook AND lets them sit around longer in the market. And who wants any of that? Dry scallops are plain old wonderful untreated scallops…fresher, tastier and yes, a little more expensive. But you are worth it! Click here for a link that explains all this a lot better than I ever could.
Once you have your scallops, all you need is bacon, some nice maple syrup, some chives, a little ground pepper and some pretty toothpicks. You are going to partially cook your bacon so that your scallops and bacon can cook together in the oven without the scallops getting overcooked. Once your bacon is about halfway done, drain it and let it cool until you can pick it up without singing your fingers.
Now wrap each scallop in a piece of bacon and (here comes the beautiful part!) lovingly paint the whole thing with some maple syrup. Pop them under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes per side, making sure you watch them carefully…this is exactly why the light inside your oven was invented! When they are done carefully lift them off the pan, arrange them on a pretty plate and garnish them with chives and fresh ground pepper. Sweet, salty, tender, all on one toothpick!
Now I know, this doesn’t usually count as dinner…it’s more of an appetizer kind of thing, but you know what? The Southern husband didn’t seem to mind one little bit.
- 24 bacon slices (try for the center cut variety if you can find it)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 24 sea scallops (the large kind, and ask for dry scallops)
- Fresh ground pepper for garnish
- Fresh chopped chives for garnish
- Partially cook bacon in a large skillet until halfway done. Remove, drain and cool until you can safely handle the bacon.
- Wrap each scallop in bacon and secure with a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, paint all over with maple syrup.
- Turn the broiler on high. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and place a cooling rack in the pan. Place the scallops on the pan and broil for 2-3 minutes per side, watching them through the door to make sure the bacon isn't burning. After they have cooked for 2-3 minutes on the first side, carefully remove the pan from the oven, turn them over with tongs, and pop them back in for another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove to a serving plate, garnish with chives and pepper and serve at once.