A simple recipe for a sensational party food

The Associated PressDecember 26, 2013 

MATTHEW MEAD — AP

Bacon-wrapped scallops are one of the most luxurious appetizers you can serve, not to mention one of the easiest to prepare.

I like using big, plump Alaskan sea scallops and apple wood smoked bacon. Because there are only two main ingredients in this dish, look for the best quality — the biggest, freshest — sea scallops you can find, and the most flavorful bacon. In a pinch, frozen scallops will do.

There are two types of scallops, but only one of them is appropriate for the grill. Tiny bay scallops are so sweet, you can eat them raw or just lightly sauteed. But they also are more expensive and not suited for grilling. What you want are the larger, less expensive sea scallops.

We’ve also paired these with a simple maple-mustard sauce that is delicious dolloped just before serving. But feel free to leave that off.

You’ll need an outdoor or stovetop grill for this recipe.

GRILLED BACON-WRAPPED SCALLOPS

Start to finish: 20 minutes; makes 12 to 14 scallops

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 pound jumbo sea scallops

1/2 pound center-cut bacon

Salt and ground black pepper

Round wooden toothpicks, soaked in water for 30 mins

Heat the oven to 400 F. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and maple syrup. Set aside.

Use paper towels to blot dry the scallops. Arrange them on a plate, then set aside.

Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the rack over the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until just starting to cook.

Do not fully cook the bacon. Remove the bacon from the oven. If too hot to handle, let cool for several minutes.

Once the bacon can be handled, wrap one slice of bacon around each scallop. Secure in place by threading one of the toothpicks through the bacon and scallop.

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops and bottoms of the scallops with bacon fat from the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Serve with the sauce for dolloping a bit onto each.

Nutrition per scallop: 120 calories; 70 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol;3 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 8 g protein; 320 mg sodium.

Elizabeth Karmel is a Southern foods expert and executive chef at Hill Country Barbecue Market restaurants in New York and Washington, and at Hill Country Chicken in New York. She is the author of three cookbooks.

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