Bay Scallop Gratins

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Ooh la la, these scallop gratins are so delectable. Little bay scallops swimming in a hot pool of wine, ouzo, butter, garlic, and salty prosciutto-how could that be a bad thing? Serve them with crusty French bread or better yet, toasted slices of a baguette. The crispiness will stand up to them being dunked in the leftover gratin liquid. The scallops are of course delicious, but my favorite part is the dipping of the crispy bread into that hot pool of butter and wine. Bay scallops are smaller and sweeter than sea scallops, but if you can’t find them just cut sea scallops into quarters.  I served the gratins with watercress coated with a light layer of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.

from: Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics
makes: 3 gratins

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 medium shallot, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Pernod (I used Ouzo instead, since I already had it)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons good olive oil
¼ panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 tablespoons dry white wine (I used: 2012 Argiolas Vermentino Di Sardegna Costamolino-pairs perfectly as well)
1 pound fresh bay scallops
lemon, for garnish

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place 3 (6 inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan. I used 2 larger square dishes, as I don’t have any round gratin dishes yet.

To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil in a slow stream, until combined. Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.

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Preheat the broiler, if it’s separate from your oven.

Place 1 tablespoon of the wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. With a small, sharp knife, remove the white muscle and membrane from the side of each scallop and discard if it hasn’t already been done. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 3 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops.

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Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want the top crustier (trust me, you do!) place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes or so, until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if desired, and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with toasted baguette slices.

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