09 January 2008

Bacon Days, Part 2: Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Oddly, I can't think of a restaurant where I've had bacon-wrapped scallops, or even a cooking shown where I've seen it prepared. I certainly didn't invent them, but somehow it's entered my bag of tricks. Maybe because it looks fancy and makes a good impression. Though it's a little time-consuming because of the bacon, it's pretty straightforward.

I use the frozen scallops from Costco, which are actually pretty large. Each one's about two or three bites, so while I think of it as an appetizer, three or four of these bad boys on a plate with some greens and some vegetables would make a solid meal, too. The light sweetness of the scallops and the savory, rich, crispy bacon are a natural fit. It's light and fatty surf and turf (kind of). And I'm telling you, it's a conversation starter.

16 scallops (1 bag from Costco), thawed. Fresh is nice, too.
16 slices of bacon. Most packs of bacon are not 16 slices, so you're screwed here. Buy two.
16 toothpicks. These also don't come in boxes of 16, so you're screwed again.

Obviously, you can make more or less, but you're pretty much guaranteed to have extra bacon or extra scallops and definitely extra toothpicks.

Be sure to remove the toothpicks you need before you touch anything raw, or else you'll end up with 484 toothpicks with raw bacon/scallop juice drying on them.

Cook the bacon first. You can do this in a frying pan, but I'd recommend cooking them in the oven. Especially if you have one of those oven grill pan deals that'll let the bacon fat drip down into a pan. A lot easier.

So, preheat your oven to 350 while you're getting everything else together, and then cook the bacon 4-5 minutes, about halfway. Don't cook them all the way as you want them pliable. They should turn from their raw, pale pink into a slightly-cooked, pale light brown. Set aside and let cool.

Heat a frying pan on high heat.

Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, tightly wrap one slice around each scallop, securing with a toothpick. Revel in their beauty.

Make sure the pan is hot, then cook in batches. Sear, cooking about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. The scallops will shrink slightly and little gashes will open up. Cook until the juices stop running. Set aside to cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper if you want, but you don't need to.

If you're feeling saucy, lay down a bed of greens on a plate and place the scallops on top. Serve and revel in your guests' gushing remarks of your culinary prowess.

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