Wish Upon A Dish: Perfect Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

April 5, 2011

Perfect Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Since yesterday's blog was all about the gnocchi, I thought today I would go more into the scallops.

I learned through trial and error (sometimes 1 half a pound of bacon) before I got this technique down pat.

You might think "Oh, just wrap the bacon around the scallops and grill".

It really isn't all THAT easy.

First, you need a good lean bacon, preferably butcher or at least a center cut package. Make sure the bacon is the same width or only slightly wider then the scallops since they both will shrink when cooked.

Second, you must pre-cook the bacon to, what I call, a raw cooked bacon stage. That means the bacon is pliable, looks still raw, but cooked enough that it could be actually eaten. If when you remove it from the microwave or oven it is hard in any place along the strip, it will crack when you try to roll it around the scallops. It must be floppy and dripping with melted bacon fat.

Bacon can be nuked for 3 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave oven) or baked in a conventional oven set on no higher than 350F on a wire rack over a sheet pan. You do not want to use paper towels if you need the drippings for the sauce or vinaigrette.

I check the oven baked ones every 5 minutes. It might take as long as 10 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and place them on a paper towel to let it rest and cool completely. Drain off the fat before it starts to cool.

Take a washed scallop, roll it side up, in the bacon and using 2 toothpicks, secure one at the opened end of the bacon and the other diagonal to the first toothpick.

Grind both sides with pepper (I do not use salt, the bacon will provide enough of that), dredge them in olive oil or canola and place on a screaming hot grill.

It is OK if the grill flames up due to the bacon fat, you want it really crunchy on the outside.

Do not worry about overcooking the scallops, the bacon protects them. Once the outsides are golden brown and crunchy, move them to the outsides of the pile of coals, top with a lid and "bake" for at least 5 minutes.

Now remember, these scallops were HUGE, at least 2" in diameter. Smaller ones will take less time under the lid, maybe 3 minutes.

Remove, and let them rest on a platter of sauteed greens (spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, even collards since they are usually cooked in a pork product).

I should have taken more pics because these really were the perfect example of what a perfectly grilled bacon-wrapped scallop should be.

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