America's Test Kitchen: Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
One of our favorite partnerships is supplying seafood to America’s Test Kitchen at their Boston headquarters. America’s Test Kitchen is the most-watched cooking show on public television with up to 2 million viewers watching each episode, and they’re famous for producing accessible recipes that always work.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
To recast this cocktail-party favorite as a grilled entrée, we had to find a way to get sturdy, fatty bacon and lean, delicate scallops to come together. Parcooking the bacon in the microwave rendered some of the fat, preventing flare-ups when it hit the grill. Wrapping each bacon slice around two scallops made for the best ratio, and skewering the bundles ensured that everything stayed put. Grilled lemon halves squeezed over the top are the final touch.
RECIPES AND PHOTO BY AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN (PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION)
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- 12 slices bacon
- 24 large sea scallops, tendons removed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 lemons, halved
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
Before you begin
Use ordinary bacon, as thick-cut bacon will take too long to crisp on the grill. When wrapping the scallops, the bacon slice should fit around both scallops, overlapping just enough to be skewered through both ends.
We recommend buying “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet.” Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white. This recipe was developed with large sea scallops (sold 10 to 20 per pound).
FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium.
Place 4 layers paper towels on large plate and arrange 6 slices bacon over towels in single layer. Top with 4 more paper towels and remaining 6 slices bacon. Cover with 2 layers of paper towels; place second large plate on top and press gently to flatten. Microwave until fat begins to render but bacon is still pliable, about 4 minutes. Toss scallops, butter, salt, and pepper together in bowl until scallops are thoroughly coated with butter.
Press 2 scallops together, side to side, and wrap with 1 slice bacon, trimming excess as necessary. Thread onto skewer through bacon. Repeat with remaining scallops and bacon, threading 3 bundles onto each of 4 skewers.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place skewers, bacon side down, and lemon halves, cut side down, on cooler side of grill. Cook (covered, if using gas) until bacon is crispy on first side, about 4 minutes. Flip skewers onto other bacon side and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes longer.
Flip skewers scallop side down and move to hot side of grill. Grill until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, about 4 minutes on 1 side only. Transfer skewers to platter, squeeze lemon over, and sprinkle with chives. Serve.