I have a confession. I did not eat any seafood for close to 25 years. I tried it at a very young age and it left a really bad taste in my mouth, literally. I just didn't know that taste was going to last for two and half decades. When I decided to start my Paleo lifestyle, I knew that I had to start incorporating more seafood into my diet. I always heard everyone rave about scallops so that is where I decided to start. Being that I was still a novice cook, I read that I could bake them without ruining them which is where these creamy baked scallops came from.
Creamy Baked Scallops
I have always been someone who has a comfort with cold weather. Maybe it was growing up in Boston or remembering long days on the sledding hill but I developed a comfort for being cold. I have always associated tomatoes, like warm tomato soup, grilled cheese and tomatoes and chili with feeling safe and at home. Given this was my first attempt at baked scallops, I wanted it to feel familiar which is why I paired it with tomatoes.
I nailed it. Every bite of this recipe warms me to the soul. The sweetness of the scallop paired with the fresh slight sweet of the tomatoes with a pinch of salt is phenomenal. Can you tell that I liked this recipe? I guess it was a first great recipe to have after not eating scallops for 25 years. I know you will love these creamy baked scallops.
Tips on How to Cook Scallops
I have learned a lot about various cooking techniques on my journey, and I love sharing tips to help save people from the mistakes I made. These tips will help you learn how to cook scallops.
- Cook them quick. Scallops are a very lean protein source and should be cooked quickly under high heat to avoid drying out. Cooking scallops on high heat also results in a delicious caramelization.
- Always add fat. Like I stated above, scallops are very lean and always require added fat when cooking. My favorite fats to use when sautéing scallops are butter, bacon fat, and duck fat.
- Give them a flavor boost. Scallops on their own have a mild sweet taste and can always use a boost. You can go simple with salt and pepper, add a little lemon juice or create a complex sauce. With these creamy baked scallops I handle it for you.
- Always thaw scallops. Never defrost scallops at room temperature. Plan ahead and defrost in the refrigerator.
- Clean and Dry. Always rinse scallops and pat them dry before cooking. If there is too much moisture on the scallops, they will not brown properly. Don't rob yourself of that flavor.
- Cut them down to size. Cut large scallops in half to ensure you have even sizes for even cooking. Scallops cook really quickly so pay attention and only cook until opaque.
- Pick your poison. You can grill scallops, saute scallops, broil or deep fry. Get creative and enjoy.
Creamy Baked Scallops
- 12 medium size scallops
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- cooking oil/spray of choice
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- dried oregano to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small baking dish, preferably a glass Pyrex about 8 x 8, arrange the scallops evenly spaced along the bottom and set aside.
- Saute the onions over medium-high heat in the cooking oil/spray of your choice until the onions start to turn opaque. Turn down the heat to medium-low.
- Add garlic and mix.
- Now add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and mix well. Also add the oregano and salt and pepper (the amount is up to you for your taste buds).
- Pour the mixture over the scallops in the baking dish.
- Cover with the chopped tomatoes.
- Place in oven and cook until the tomatoes start to brown and the sauce is bubbling. Should take about 10 minutes for medium sized scallops to cook through.
- Remove from the oven, serve in a bowl and enjoy.