Grilled Scallops with Pancetta & Sage
Using pancetta, the Italian version of bacon, to baste lean scallops with a drizzle of salty fat is an idea inspired by barbecue expert Steven Raichlen. Try this recipe with other firm-fleshed seafood such as tuna, swordfish, salmon, shrimp, and squid. Keep the marinating time short or the acid will start to cook the fish. Large scallops work best, but if yours are thicker than about 1 1/2″ (4 cm), cut them in half to make thinner discs. You can use prosciutto or partially cooked bacon in place of pancetta.
- Serves: 4
- Course: Lunch, Dinner, Snack
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (45 ml)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (30 ml)
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest (5 ml)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (2 ml)
- 1 1/2 lbs sea scallops, about 12 (750 g)
- 2 slices pancetta, about 1⁄8
- 12 small sage leaves
- Kosher or sea salt
- In a bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pepper. Add scallops and toss to coat with marinade. Set aside for 15–30 minutes.
- Remove scallops and pat dry with paper towel. Thread 2 or 3 scallops onto each skewer (like a lollipop, so scallops’ flat sides are exposed to grill), follow ing each scallop with a piece of pancetta and a sage leaf. Reserve marinade.
- In a small saucepan, bring marinade to a boil for a few minutes. Allow to cool.
- When ready to cook, oil grill and preheat to medium-high. Arrange skewers on hot grill, lightly brushing with marinade. Turn skewers with tongs after about 2 minutes; continue grilling until scallops are just firm to the touch, about 2 minutes more. Season lightly to taste and enjoy hot.
Scallops can stick, so be very sure your grill grate is clean and well oiled. You can also use the touchless grilling method.