Ingredients (Serves 6)
12 medium sea scallops, tough muscle removed from side of each, if necessary
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarse plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
1/3 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons Cognac
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, finely chopped
Special equipment: 12 scallop shells (optional).
Rinse scallops under cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl, toss scallops with 1 tablespoon oil; lightly season with salt and pepper.
In a shallow bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, celery, parsley and ¼ teaspoon salt. In batches of 2 or 3, roll scallops in breadcrumb mixture to generously coat, pressing gently to help crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate.
Heat oven to broil.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, then scallops; cook, turning scallops once, for 6 minutes. Add Cognac and pinch salt and pepper; cook until liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
Reserving bits in skillet, transfer scallops to a broiling pan; sprinkle with almonds. Broil until scallops are opaque in center and tops are golden, about 1 minute. Transfer scallops to shells, if using, or small plates. Sprinkle with pan bits. Serve warm.
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