Updated: Jul 25, 2021
I first tried this dish right on the coast in the Nam Dinh province of Vietnam. Its an incredibly simple dish that takes hardly anytime to prepare, however the flavour is on a next level therefore I had to share this recipe with you! With only a few ingredients, the key to this dish is to try and source some nice fresh hand dived scallops. These scallops are usually cooked over a bbq in the shell however for this recipe I decided to pan fry the scallops then finish with a blowtorch to create that char aroma. If possible I definitely recommend cooking over a bbq for this dish but this recipe should make it easy for people to create at home. This is quite a light dish and could be served as a simple snack or side to a dish. With all that said let's get straight to it!
To serve 2:
6 whole scallops in the shell
6 spring onions
1 garlic clove
2 cm piece of ginger
50ml rapeseed oil
salt and pepper
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Start by preparing the scallops, using a regular table knife, run the knife along the top of the flat side of the shell. Keep the knife at a 45° angle facing upwards to prevent slicing too deep into the scallop. The scallop should almost pop open when you cut far enough into the scallop shell.
2. When open carefully release the scallop from the shell by using a spoon gently scraping against the shell. Now the scallop is free from the shell, using your thumb remove the outer membrane from the scallop then discard the membrane. Briefly wash the scallop under cold water and place the scallop onto a plate.
3. Depending on the size of the scallops slice each piece into either 2 or 3 pieces then place all of the sliced scallops onto a tray and leave to one side. For the scallop shells, keep the concave half of the shells then wash and place into a hot oven for approximately 10 minutes to clean and remove any impurities.
4. Now to prepare the spring onion oil, finely chop the garlic and ginger then add to a pan with approximately 50mls of rapeseed oil. Fry the garlic and ginger on a medium to high heat until the garlic and ginger start to colour. When lightly brown add 6 finely chopped spring onions and fry for around 1 minute until fragrant. When ready remove from the heat and season with salt then place into a bowl to allow to cool.
5. Last component to prepare before cooking the scallops is the fried shallots. Simply finely slice 3 shallots lengthways then add to a pan with enough cooking oil to cover the shallots. Fry on a high heat until golden brown then remove the shallots from the oil and drain onto kitchen paper. Season the shallots with salt and a touch of sugar.
6. Now to finish the dish, lightly season the scallops with salt, black pepper and some lemon zest. Place a pan onto a high heat and wait for the pan to get hot. Now add a drizzle of cooking oil and a small knob of butter and wait for the butter to start to foam. Add the scallops to the hot pan and fry for 45 seconds each side. When cooked remove from the pan and place onto a plate to rest.
7. To plate the dish, add a small amount of the spring onion oil and fried shallots onto the scallop shell to create a bed for the scallops. Lay the scallops on top and drizzle over the spring onion oil again. To give this dish a nice char, lightly blowtorch the scallops and the bed of spring onion oil until charred. (If you do not have a blow touch then you could briefly grill under a salamander). Finely add a squeeze of lemon juice over the top and some more fried shallots. hope you enjoy this super simple recipe!
Instead of using scallops you could also use clams, muscles, or oysters. All of these types of shellfish are common to cook this way in Vietnam. As said before, instead of pan frying the scallops you could simply arrange all of the ingredients into the scallop shell and bbq instead. Try adding fried garlic and fried peanuts to this recipe to take it to another level...have fun!