The magnificent city of Santiago de Compostela, site of one of the world’s great cathedrals and a place of pilgrimage since the ninth century, is famed for its scallops, served with their pink roe and attached to their shells. The scallop is the very symbol of the city, and pilgrims returning to their homelands from Santiago would sew scallop shells to their capes as sure proof that they had indeed reached this city of miracles.
Since the scallops in Santiago are so fresh, the preparations tend to be simple, designed to allow the delicate flavor to shine through. Served in shells, these scallops are cooked in white wine, mixed with onion and cured ham, and topped with crumbs.
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound bay scallops or halved sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, preferably Vidalia or other sweet onion, very finely chopped
- ¼ cup minced Serrano ham or prosciutto
- Kosher or sea salt
In a large saucepan bring the wine to a boil, add the scallops, return to a boil, then remove from the heat and drain.
In a skillet heat the oil, then sauté the onion and ham until the onion is wilted. Mix in the scallops and remove from the heat. Place the scallop mixture in 6 scallop shells. Sprinkle with salt [May be prepared ahead] and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (about 2 teaspoons for each shell), dot with butter, and run under the broiler until golden.
A similar recipe, but simpler because the ingredients are not cooked first, calls for ½ cup finely diced Serrano ham, ½ cup very finely chopped onion, a few drops white wine vinegar, 5 tablespoons olive oil, salt, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and 1 cup fresh bread crumbs. Place the scallops and ham in buttered shells. Sprinkle on some onion, a little vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of the oil over each. Season with salt and sprinkle with the parsley. In a small bowl mix the crumbs with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, divide among the shells, and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
Nutritional information is based on dotting each scallop with 1/2 teaspoon of butter.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.