I wanted to make an appetizer that would be great for holiday parties coming up, an appetizer that required no utensils or risk of guests getting messy. This weekend for my dad’s birthday, I decided to make some bay scallops, but serve them in a fun, unconventional way, in mussel shells. At your local grocery store just ask the seafood department if they have any empty shells available, and any shell will get the job done (Oyster, Clam, Mussel). Just make sure to clean whichever shell you decide on (a potato scrubber worked for me). These shells act as a serving dish for the scallops and a non-fussy way for your guests to enjoy this holiday party worthy starter. The combination of the pop of brightness from this pesto, the melt-in-your-mouth scallops and the perfect crunch from the panko will impress your guests, by it’s flavor and presentation
Pesto Bay Scallops topped with Crunchy Panko
1lb Bay scallops
1 cup Pesto, recipe here
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
6 Tbsp. Butter, divided
About 15 Seafood shells, cleaned well (Mussel Shells, Clam Shells, or Oyster Shells)
Pea Sprouts or micro-greens for garnish
Salt & pepper
Pat bay scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a saute pan with 1 Tbsp. butter, heat until right when the butter begins to smoke a little, add the bay scallops and sear for about 30 seconds, remove scallops with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add the rest of the butter to a sauté pan and melt, add panko and coat the bread crumbs with the butter.
Assemble the sea shells on a roasting pan. Add a tablespoon of pesto, add 2-3 bay scallops on top. Add the panko mixture on top. Broil until the panko is golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes. To serve, line a serving plate with pea sprouts, micro-greens, or a green garnish of your choice. Nestle the shells atop of the greens and serve!