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Skewered scallops a simple meal

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

I’ve always been a sucker for scallops. They’re sweet, meaty, cylindrical and bite-size. This particular recipe puts scallops at the center of a skewer’s worth of tasty kebabs. It requires no more than 15 minutes hands-on time and 40 minutes from start to finish. And it’s how I spell dinner — and relief — at the end of a long day of work, when I have neither the time nor the patience for anything more complicated.

First, buy the best scallops available. Sometimes scallops are harvested, stored in water with preservatives, then kept at sea for days before the boat returns to shore. These are known as “wet” scallops, and I do not recommend them. Instead, look for “dry” scallops or “day boat” scallops, which are caught and brought to market right away. Of these, you want the biggest, plumpest specimens you can find. Those will most easily pick up nice grill marks when you set them down across the grates.

The bright, tangy citrus marinade here is a mixture of lemon juice, orange juice and the zest of both fruits, along with a little olive oil. It’s your choice of herb — sage or basil (the home team liked them both) — after which each scallop is wrapped in a strip of prosciutto. You want to be careful to fold the prosciutto and herbs around the scallops so they’re flush with the scallops’ edge. That will ensure the scallops cook evenly on the grill after they’ve been threaded onto skewers. How to ensure they don’t stick to the grill? Pat them dry, then brush them with a little oil right before grilling.

The grill must be well heated before you start cooking. Once you’re rolling, don’t turn over the skewers until the scallops are easily loosened from the grill, which is how you know they’ve been properly seared. This will take only 2 to 3 minutes a side. Give each one a little poke in the belly to see if it’s almost done. You want to pull them off the grill when there’s still a little bit of give, indicating they’re slightly undercooked. The carry-over cooking heat will finish the job.

Citrus-Marinated Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the scallops
  • 16 sea scallops (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, 1-1/4 pounds), tough muscle discarded
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma (about 4 ounces)
  • 16 large basil or sage leaves

Heat grill to medium.

Whisk together juices and zests with a hefty pinch of salt until the salt has dissolved; whisk in oil. Add scallops and toss until well coated. Let marinate 8 minutes.

Cut prosciutto slices in half crosswise and fold them into strips the width of the scallops and 5 inches long. Arrange strips on work surface and place a basil leaf in center of each. Top leaf with a scallop and wrap prosciutto around to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto- wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak for 20 minutes in water first.)

Pat exposed scallop surfaces dry and brush lightly with olive oil. Place skewers on grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until almost firm to the touch. Transfer to plates and let rest 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 220 calories, 96 calories from fat, 11 g fat, 2g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 1,317 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, no fiber or sugar, 26 g protein

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