Scallops Saganaki (xτένια-Σαγανάκι)

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I get my inspiration from many sources: my mother and other family members and friends who I consider culinary wizards, frequent visits to Greece, chatting about food with other Greek food enthusiasts, other bloggers who I respect and consider friends and of course, the well known food and cooking celebrities who enter our homes via the TV set.

Today I watched Ina Garten make a Scallop Gratin. I loved her idea and ran with it. Inspired by her fabulous and easy dish and coupled with my Greek tastes, I think i have a delicious and unique dish that brings you the flavours of the Aegean to your table. This dish is buttery without using butter, you have a mellow undertones of anise with the use of Ouzo, garlic and parsley fight for the attention of your palate, the sweetness of the scallops balanced by the heat of a red chilli and Greek olive oil and leeks, offerings from the soil.

Saganaki. So many varieties of Saganaki. The most common one being the flaming cheese dish (Greektown favourite) or shrimp and mussels saganaki. Saganaki refers to the two-handled utensil that the dish is served in. In the loosest sense, serve something in a saganki pan and you can call it a “saganaki”. Think of the Paella…the meal itself and Paellera the utentsil. In Greek cuisine, saganaki is the dish and the utensil.

So, join me in enjoying this dish. It’s succulent, it’s sweet, it’s velvety, it’s Lent-friendly and it’s my Greek ode to scallops. I have a bit of heat, the use of Greece’s national aperatif Ouzo, Greek white wine and extra-virgin olive oil from….you guessed it….Greece!

Scallops Saganaki (Xτένια Σαγανάκι)

(makes 4 appetizer servings)

16 scallops, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup of dry white wine

2 shots of Ouzo

1/2 tsp. of sweet paprika

6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of leeks, julienne into matchsticks

1 red chilli, thinly sliced

1 tsp of sea coarse sea salt

fresh ground pepper

1/2-3/4 cup of coarse bread crumbs (I make my own)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

lemon wedges for garnish

Pre-heated 450F oven, rack set set to second position from the top

  1. Rinse and pat-dry your scallops and season both sides with coarse sea salt and ground pepper, set aside. In a bowl, add the olive oil, wine, Ouzo, lemon juice, garlic, chilli,  sweet paprika. Whisk to mix well.
  2. Place four scallops in each oven-proof baking vessel. Pour equal amounts of the sauce mixture into each vessel. Divide & top with leek matchsticks and now sprinkle the coarse bread crumbs over each serving.
  3. Place onto a baking sheet and insert into your pre-heated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Now set your oven to “broil” and bake for another 2 minutes or until the breadcrumbs become golden.
  4. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over each serving and serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread. Enjoy with one of my favourite wines, a Vatistas Malagousia white.

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010,
Peter Minakis

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33 Comments for “Scallops Saganaki (xτένια-Σαγανάκι)”


I love the Greek twist on Ina’s recipe….I so wish we could get scallops the size of that here in Cape Town. For now, I will have to try this with fish, I think it can work quite well. BTW, you are one of my No.1 food inspirations!!!



Εξαιρετική ιδέα για να μαγειρέψεις τα χτένια! Φαίνονται πεντανόστιμα!


Ouzo is finished here at home, will have to buy a new bottle and then i am so gonna making this and buy a big ciabatta to soak uo all the juices :-)


Peter – This looks fabulous and I’ll bet the ouzo lends it a unique taste. But would it be criminal to leave it out since I haven’t got any right now?


Ωραίος τρόπος να μαγειρέψεις τα χτένια, και φυσικά φρέσκο ψωμάκι από δίπλα για τρελές βουτίτσες!
Καλή βδομάδα, καλό μήνα Peter!


I think you are definitely a saganaki wizard Peter! I love the photo with your hand ready for a ‘papara’. I wish I could do that too, xtenia are such a delicacy.


Oooh now scallops saganaki that must be totally delish it looks amazing. Wish I had that plate in front of me!


With all the flavorings you use this is no ordinary gratin! I love scallops and this dish is fantastic! I’d love to taste this!


Hi Peter, thanks for stopping by today, it’s always nice to “see” you! :) This dish looks amazing, love how you were inspired and created it yourself! I love the way you wrote about it too, how could you not want to try it after reading that? :)


That does look buttery… I had to re-read the recipe because I was sure I’d missed how much butter to use! Delicious!



I absolutely can’t wait to try this!!! Please send me some for now tho’! Oh my gosh!!!


I like some of the celebrity recipes mainly because you can use them as a base and then run with your own ideas and touches. I would love to try your recipe out on my husband as he loves scallops. What a gorgeous photo as well…the color of the sauce is amazing and definitely begs to have bread dipped in.



I made this tonight as it’s Lent and I always come to this webiste for delicious recipes. It was yummy….I was out of Ouzo (horror I know) so I substituted with Sambuca. It was a tad strong for the kids so I would only do one shot in the future. I made this as a main course not an appitizer. Thank you!!!