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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gratin of Bay Scallops from Ina Garten's Back to Basics (Clarkson Potter 2008) and in our reader comments A recipe for Fig, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Pizza!



I have a confession to make.  I was having lunch with my dear friend Barbara at one of our favorite spots.  Aperitivo at 780 Third Avenue at 48th Street (212-758-9402) is sleek and reasonable. They make an amazing Pizza Bianca with figs, prosciutto and gorgonzola which is in itself reason to go there.   We do like our Apperitivos and the very pretty bartender who serves them.  But what I’d never noticed before was that the television, mounted on the wall next to the bar, was tuned to the Food Network.  Perhaps the owners are trying to placate all those poor people from Westchester and Long Island who no longer get the channel due to an on-going Cable feud which has taken the network off their televisions.  But I do know that with the set right behind Barbara, as hard as I tried to concentrate, I couldn’t help but sneak a peak.  I was intrigued by Ina Garten making the most incredible Gratin of Bay Scallops.






        For a long time, I didn’t eat scallops.  But they seem to appear all over the place and when I finally made them myself, I was amazed at how good they can be.  I love the little bay scallops and if you can get the ones from Nantucket you’ll be in heaven.  I think sea scallops are a bit overwhelming both in size and in flavor.  The nutty taste of the smaller bay variety seem to work with other flavors beautifully. 
        Ina’s recipe was for six, mine is for 2.  I think Ina’s portions are perfect so you can expand or contract this recipe at will. Ina makes her topping in an electric mixer.  For 6, that makes sense.  I didn’t really see a need for anything other than elbow grease, a fork and butter that was really soft.  6 ounces of scallops seems a perfect serving.  The 1 ounce of prosciutto is a challenge but I didn’t really want to incur the wrath of all the people behind me at the Delicatessen counter so I took the 3 ounce pre-packaged option.  I’ve been meaning to make “Saltimbocca alla Romana” so the leftover portion will be perfect for that.  The only other advice I have with this recipe is to pre-heat the broiler if you want to give your gratin a crispier topping.  Here goes:


Recipe for Gratin of Bay Scallops from Ina Garten (All rights reserved)
2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter at room temperature
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma, minced
2 tbsp. Fresh parsley minced plus more for garnish
1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Pernod, can be substituted with Sambuca or Ouzo
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. dry white Wine
12 ounces Bay Scallops
Lemon for squeezing over finished dish.
Equipment: Individual gratin dishes*
*Apilco makes great ones (link)


1.   Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 2 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.
2.   To make the topping, place the butter in medium bowl. Add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.
3.   Preheat the broiler, if it's separate from your oven.
4.   Place 1 tablespoon of the wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 2 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 9 to 11 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.