Scallops are a favorite in our clan. Normally, we just pan-sear them in a little olive oil, adding salt, pepper and oregano. Back on the block we usually served it over steamed rice. Recently I decided to try baking the suckers. Also, I happen to have some leeks on hand; and added that to it, along with a red pepper (pimento) and Spanish green stuffed olives. It turned out to be a successful experiment, and quite delicious.
In our group, we prefer sea scallops which are larger (1½ to 2-inch in diameter) than the smaller bay scallops. There are those who prefer bay scallops since the are considered sweeter and more tender. My experience has been that bay scallops are better in stews and casseroles. But if you want to use bay scallops for this recipe, go right ahead. Just be aware that the baking time may be less.
This time around, instead of rice, we served it with pearl (also known as Israeli) couscous. So, here it is, Roasted Scallops with Leeks, Pepper and Olives. As noted, we used green stuffed olives. If desired, you can utilize Greek Kalamata olives (in fact, we added some to this dish) or black olives. Add a good white wine, such as Chablis, Soave, or even a Rhine wine, some crusty bread, and you can’t go wrong with this one.
ROASTED SCALLOPS WITH LEEKS, PEPPERS AND OLIVES
4 cups sliced leeks (about 2 large) white and light green part only
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth or stock
2 pounds sea scallops, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped pitted green olives (or a mix of green, black olives or Kalamata olives)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place leeks, peppers, saffron and butter in a large oven-proof sauté pan, deep pot or skillet (we prefer cast-iron). Pour in the chicken broth. Cook over medium-high heat until the leeks are soft and the broth boils down to about one third of the amount you started with, about 12-15 minutes.
- Arrange the scallops over the leek mixture. Add the lemon juice, olives and pepper. Place in oven and bake until scallops are tender, about 25 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.