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 (XÏ„ÎÎ½Î¹Î± Î£Î±Î³Î±Î½Î¬ÎºÎ¹)
(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
- 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,Â sweet paprika. Whisk to mix well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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