One thing’s for sure about this dish, it’s a head turner. Your family members or dinner guests will ooh and ahh when these incredibly aesthetic scallops arrive on the table. It’s a crowd pleasing seafood dish that will have everyone pulling out their phones to photograph.
It’s hard not to admire the natural presentation, even if you’re cooking for yourself. It’s almost as if nature wants us to admire the beauty of food and enjoy it in a way that is both healthy and delicious.
Serve as a starter, an appetizer, or enjoy as your main course. Either way, it’s impossible to go wrong with these perfectly seasoned scallops.
A traditional Peruvian dish, Conchitas a la Parmesana, or ‘Broiled Scallops with Parmesan gratin,’ consists of scallops topped with Worcestershire sauce, butter, salt, pepper, lemon, lime, as well as pisco, a brandy made of distilled wine or fruit juice.
Then top the scallop meat with a layer of parmesan cheese, cook in the oven or broiler until the cheese is golden, and garnish with parsley or cilantro.
Served with lemon or lime wedges on the side, I usually serve this delicious seafood dish as an appetizer or as finger food.
This elegant appetizer needs just a few ingredients and takes only around only 15 minutes to make.
The ingredients list
- Half shelled scallops – fresh or frozen.
- Salt and pepper – to enhance the flavors.
- Worcestershire sauce – characterized by a strong umami taste.
- Butter – gives a smooth silky feel and rich taste.
- Half a lime or lemon – helps ‘clean’ the scallop and remove any foul smell.
- Parmesan – gives the dish a nutty, bold flavor.
- Cilantro or parsley – as a garnish
- Add the butter on top of the white meat so that it’ll melt all over the meat rather than placing the butter on the side.
- Serve the Conchitas a la Parmesana right out of the oven. If you’re guests are a bit late, simply pop the Conchitas a la Parmesana in the oven to reheat for 2 – 3 minutes or till warm.
- When keeping the Scallop Parmesan, if there is any left, take the meat out of the shell, keep in an airtight container. Place in the fridge. The leftovers can last in the fridge for a day or three.
- To reheat, place the scallops in a tray or ceramic plate and cover the top with foil. Heat for 7 – 10 minutes in a 150°C or 305°F or just till it’s warm.
Step by step photos
Step 1: Prep your scallops by extracting the white meat from each, which is the scallop’s core. Rinse thoroughly before arranging on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Step 2: Season each scallop individually. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt and pepper and approximately 1/8 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Place a dollop of butter on top and add a splash of lime juice.
Step 3: Sprinkle each scallop liberally with shredded Parmesan cheese, about 1 tablespoon per scallop. Don’t overdo the cheese, though, since you want the scallop’s flavor to shine.
Step 4: Bake the scallops for 5 – 7 minutes in a preheated 450°F oven. The perfect sign of ‘done’ is when the Parmesan turns a golden brown.
Step 5: Garnish your scallops with parsley or cilantro for an added touch of freshness. Accompany with a lemon or lime wedge.
Tips for cleaning scallops the right way.
Get them cleaned when you get them fresh from the market. Or if you buy frozen half-shelled scallops from the grocery, simply defrost before working with them.
- If you buy the whole scallop instead of the half shelled scallop, shuck the top with a blunt knife. You can make cooking easier by buying half shelled scallops.
- Using a knife, remove the ‘belly’ or ‘liver’ of the scallop (the pouch on the side of the scallop near the tip. This can often be filled with sand so you’ll definitely want to remove that).
- The scallop’s gills and mantle (the thin string-like flesh around the scallop) taste muddy so remove them.
- It’s up to you whether to keep or remove the roe or coral (the pink part underneath the scallop). It’s got a robust flavor and some peple like to keep this part for presentation.
- There’s nothing left but the white part or the ‘adductor muscle,’ what we typically call a scallop with or without the roe.
- Don’t worry if you accidentally take the whole scallop. Re-place it on the shell; the cheese and other ingredients will cover up any mistakes.
- Make sure there aren’t any bits of sand left by rinsing in running water one by one.
- Lightly dab a kitchen towel on the surface to dry (optional)
Alternatives & Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use other shelled seafood?
Scallops of any type, such as Atlantic, Hokkaido, or Japanese scallops, oysters, or even clams or muscles, can be used.
Other options and Dairy Free alternatives to Parmesan
Parmesan has a bold, nutty, sharp taste. Here are some alternatives:
- Pecorino Romano has a similar texture and almost the same taste.
- You can make your own Parmesan by blending cashews and nutritional yeast and adding garlic or onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- For dairy-free alternatives, try Daiya’s Parmesan cheese, which has excellent reviews and is available almost everywhere
- All About Cashew’s Vegan Parmesan cheese, or smoked parmesan cheese
Can you use frozen scallops for Conchitas a la Parmesana?
If you can’t find scallops at the market, buy half shelled scallops from the grocery store, defrost, clean and remove the inedible parts of the scallop before rinsing in running water, before adding the other ingredients, pat them dry with a kitchen towel. For convenience, you can also use sushi grade scallops or frozen ‘no shelled’ scallops.
Like scallops? Try our delicious Peruvian scallop ceviche dish. Perfect for hot summer evenings.
Conchitas a la Parmesana
- 12 pieces half-shelled fresh scallops
- Black pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 cup butter
- 1 hald lime or lemon
- Parmesan shredded
- Cilantro or parsley to garnish
- Clean the scallops leaving only the middle part or the white meat. Wash in running water before placing this on a baking pan lined with foil.
- On each scallop, add a pinch of salt and pepper, a drop or around 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, top with 1/8 teaspoon butter, and drizzle with half a lime.
- Top and cover the scallop with roughly 1 tablespoon of shredded Parmesan. Make sure not to add too much so that you can still taste the scallop.
- Bake in a 450°F or 232°C preheated oven for 5 – 7 minutes or till the Parmesan turns a golden brown color.
- Garnish with parsley or cilantro, serve with a side of lemon or lime.