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Scallops au Gratin, Galician Style - Vieiras Gratinadas a la Gallega

Fresh scallops are almost always sandy. They are best opened raw: insert a knife tip between the shells and sever the hinge. This is easy to do, since, unlike oysters or clams, the scallop's shells don't close tightly. Then pry the shells open. Cut the scallop free of the top, flat shell and discard it. Scoop the scallop out of the shell and cut away and discard the mantle (the rim) and the black section. The remaining white muscle and coral are both edible. Rinse in running water. The scallops are now ready for cooking. The shells can be saved to serve the scallops in.

Makes 6 starters or 12 individual tapas servings.

Prep Time: 25 min.

Cook Time: 25 min.

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2 dozen fresh scallops in their shells (or equivalent frozen scallops)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 oz ham or bacon, diced
2 tbsp white wine
2 tsp Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
Salt and pepper
1 oz fine dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil

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Open and clean the scallops as described above. Discard the empty flat shells. Place two scallops in a cleaned shell and set them on a grill pan. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the minced onion, garlic and diced ham until onion is softened. Add the wine, paprika, salt, and pepper. Spoon this mixture over the scallops in their shells. Combine the bread crumbs with the oil and just a little water to make a paste. Spoon it on top of the scallops. Place the pan under the grill until the tops are browned and scallops are bubbling, about 8 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.

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