Baked Sea Scallops with Garlic & Vermouth
Contemporary cooks are fond of using red and white wines in their sauces and braises, but we rarely think to use vermouth these days, which is a shame. This fortified wine, flavored with a proprietary blend of herbs and barks, has a wonderfully concentrated flavor that goes well with seafood and poultry. Scallops and vermouth were a popular pairing in the 1950s and 1960s; in fact, both Craig Claiborne, food editor of the New York Times, and Rene Verdon, chef of the Kennedy White House, published cookbooks that featured scallops marinated in vermouth. The combination of butter, garlic, and vermouth in this sauce is heavenly–be sure to serve with lots of bread for mopping up the juices.
Note: If at all possible, seek out “dry” scallops for your cooking. They are pale beige in color and have a purer flavor. So-called “wet” scallops are kept in a phosphate solution that turns them milky white and makes them absorb water, thus diluting their sweetness.
Total Time: 20
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, plus extra for dish
- 2 pounds sea scallops (see Note)
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2-1/2 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
InstructionsPreheat oven to 350°. Butter the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Wash scallops and pat dry. Arrange in a single layer in the dish and set aside.
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. And garlic and cook until just translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and vermouth. Pour over scallops. Sprinkle cheese, panko, pepper, and salt over scallops. Bake until scallops are just translucent in the center, about 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.