This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.
Grilled scallops are fantastic for a backyard BBQ or easy weeknight dinner. The red pepper cilantro pesto matches perfectly with their naturally sweet flavor and succulent texture.
Grilled scallops are a succulent treat that can be served as an appetizer, easy weeknight dinner or backyard BBQ menu item. As soon as I took the first bite, I was kicking myself for not making them more often. And I had to pull out my defensive linebacker skills (okay, those are non-existent) to stop my boys from inhaling the whole batch in under 5 minutes!
I bought these gorgeous North Atlantic Sea Scallops – Colossal – at Safeway (also at Albertsons Companies family of stores). If you’ve never tried their Open Nature® Seafood products, you’re missing out! I’ve eaten a lot of scallops in my life, but I have to say these were some of the best. Meaty and naturally sweet, with a tender texture when cooked just right.
Besides the flavor and texture, the other thing I love about Open Nature Seafood products is that 100% of it is wild caught, it contains no preservatives and all of the products now bare the Responsible Choice™ logo for sustainable sourcing.
Why is that important? Well, it means that Open Nature Seafood products have been raised or caught in ways that help safeguard future supplies, helping to keep ocean ecosystems thriving. My Environmental Sciences major son heartily approves. 🙂
What’s the best way to defrost scallops?
Since these colossal scallops are packaged so conveniently in a freezer friendly bag, simply transfer the bag from the freezer to the fridge about 8 hours before cooking the scallops.
If you’re in a hurry, or you find that there is still some ice on the scallops after defrosting, open the bag, remove the scallops and run them under cold water.
How to cook scallops on the grill:
Tip #1: Do a little trimming
Look around the outside edge of the scallop and you should see a small flap attached. This is called the foot, which is what attaches the scallop to the shell. I find it easiest just to use my fingers to gently pull off the foot. It comes off easily. But feel free to use a small paring knife if you prefer.
Tip #2: Keep things dry
To get a good sear and crust on the outside of the scallop, you want to remove excess moisture. Use a paper towel to pat dry the scallops. I usually do this once before putting the scallops on skewers, if using, and again afterwards.
Tip #3: To skewer or not to skewer
This colossal scallops are big enough to be grilled without skewers. However, if you’re using smaller scallops or you feel a little clumsy with the tongs like I do sometimes, skewers are the way to go. I recommend double skewering so that the scallops don’t simply spin around the skewer when you try to flip them over on the grill.
If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes before adding the scallops so that the skewers don’t burn on the grill.
Tips #4: Make it hot
When grilling any sort of seafood directly on the grill, medium high to high heat is the way to go to prevent sticking. The high heat produces a light crust on the outside of the seafood and that crust enables it to pull away from the grill.
Using high heat that the scallops will cook in mere minutes, so don’t wander away from the grill. The last thing you want is overcooked scallops!
Tip #5: Grease it up
Oil the grill well before adding the scallops to the grill. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or avocado oil.
There are a couple of different ways to do this. The first is using a silicone brush to brush the oil directly on the great. Another option is to moisten a paper towel with the oil, then grab the paper towel with tongs and rub the oil onto the grate. Be sure that the grate is well oiled. You don’t want those beautiful scallops to stick!
Tips for making the red pepper pesto:
Could you use store-bought jarred roasted red peppers for this recipe? Absolutely! However, since you already have the grill fired up for the scallops, it’s easy to toss on a couple of bell peppers.
Set the grill to high heat and lay the peppers directly on the grate. Turn every few minutes until the peppers are charred all over. Immediately transfer them to a brown paper bag and roll up the back so that the peppers are sealed inside. This will create steam inside, which loosens the blackened skins of the peppers.
Once the skins, stems and seeds are removed from the peppers, place them in a food processor along with some cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is combined and the peppers are chopped into very small pieces. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is nearly smooth.
This pesto recipe will make twice as much as you need for the scallops. Use the remaining pesto as a pasta sauce or thin it with some water and use it as a salad dressing. Better yet - make a second batch of grilled scallops!
I shopped at Safeway, but you can also find North Atlantic Sea Scllops – Colossal at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons.
Safeway proudly stands behind Open Nature® products with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Grilled Scallops with Red Pepper Cilantro Pesto
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Preheat the grill to high heat. Oil well.
- Around the edge of each scallop, locate the small flap (the "foot") and remove it with your fingers or a small, sharp knife.
- Using a paper towel, pat dry the scallops very well.
- Using double skewers, thread the scallops on the skewers. Pat dry again. Lightly coat the scallops with the olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the skewers on a diagonal on the grill for the best grill marks. Cook on the first side for about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the skewers and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the scallops are just cooked through. Take care not to overcook.
- Carefully remove the scallops from the skewers. Serve with the pesto.
- Place the whole bell peppers on the hot grill (high heat). Cook, turning every few minutes, until the peppers are charred all over, about 10 minutes.
- Immediately transfer the peppers to a paper bag. Roll up the bag to seal in the peppers. This will create steam which loosens the skins.
- Remove the peppers from the bag. Using your fingers, remove the skin and pull out the stem. Open up the peppers and remove the seeds.
- In a food processor, combine the roasted peppers, cilantro, toasted almonds, garlic and lime juice. Pulse until combined and the peppers are chopped into fine pieces.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until the pesto is almost completely smooth (a little texture is a good thing).
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.