Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops with Wilted Lemon Spinach

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In the martini-glass and lounge-music world of 1950s and 1960s cocktail parties, “angels on horseback” was one of the top ten hors d’oeuvres. It featured bacon-wrapped oysters, a perfect combination in which the salty, smoky slices add flavor and crunch to the voluptuous shellfish. I’ve often wondered why this recipe was never made into a real special, appropriate for the dinner table. Here it is, using scallops. You will need 8- to 10-inch wooden skewers for the scallops.


Nightly Specials

For an all-seafood dish, wrap the scallops with smoked salmon.

Replace the scallops with 1-inch slices of monkfish tail.

Skewer 3 scallops on each skewer for a main course portion.

Use this recipe as a guide for making jumbo shrimp or scallops wrapped with prosciutto or pancetta, then cook and serve on skewers.

Serves4 to 6 as an appetizer

Cooking Methodbaking, pan-frying


Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehot appetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturebuttery, crisp, juicy, meaty, salty, savory, tangy, umami


  • ½ pound thinly sliced, fruitwood smoked bacon, halved crosswise (1 half slice per scallop)
  • 1 pound large sea scallops (about 10 scallops)
  • All purpose flour, for dusting
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons small capers
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound spinach leaves, well washed in several changes of cold water, drained of excess liquid
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  2. Wrap a half slice of bacon around the circumference of each scallop, like a belt. Pierce the scallop through the side with a skewer to keep the bacon in place.

  3. Dust each bacon-wrapped scallop with flour and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the scallops to the pan and brown them, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops over and add the shallots and capers to the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and lemon juice and saute until the spinach is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. Transfer the spinach to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep it warm.

  6. Remove the pan from the oven and arrange the scallops over the spinach. Spoon the shallots and capers over the scallops and serve.

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