What to Serve with Scallops? Our Favorite Side Dishes
Scallops are one of those elegant foods that you find mostly in the restaurant menus. But seafood lovers won’t hesitate to order a nice dish of grilled or seared scallops whenever they get the chance. No matter how you like your scallops, we have some pretty good side dish ideas to serve with scallops.
But first, we feel obligated to take you through some information about scallops. Scallops are sea creatures that are usually found in the bed of the sea. They are shell animals, similar to oysters. Both of them belong to the mollusk family. They use their shell as a medium of transportation.
When removed from the shell, scallops look like a round flat disk. There are mostly two types of scallops. They are the sea scallops and the bay scallops. Bay scallops are usually smaller than sea scallops. They are only available for only a few months of the year which makes them more expensive than sea scallops.
On the other hand, sea scallops are commonly found on most restaurant menus. They are available throughout the year and are a little bigger in size than bay scallops. The diameter of sea scallops can go up to 2-inches in size.
It is also important that you know how scallops’ taste like if you going to try them for the first time. Properly cooked scallops are very soft and tender in nature. The signature flavor of seafood is also present in scallops. They create a butter-like texture as soon as you put them in your mouth.
Now, let’s come to the point of today’s article. What to serve with scallops? Scallops have the credibility to be a dish on their own. That doesn’t mean a few side dishes will harm the flavor. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Before starting to give you recipes, you need to figure out what you are in the mood for. Do you want grain food as your side dish? Is it vegetables that you are craving? Or is it a mix of sauces. Only after you have decided, you can jump into the recipes.
Grain & Beans
If you happen to be a fan of grains and beans, you can very nicely utilize them with scallops. Grains are a great source of carbohydrates and they perfectly balance the linear protein found in scallops.
To maintain the authenticity of the scallops, you need to be careful with what grains you select as your side dish. You need to make sure that the grain or the sauce you are using do not overwhelm the flavor of your beloved seafood.
If you are thinking about pasta, spaghetti will do just fine. Use some sort of white sauce. A red sauce such as tomato sauce will eat up the subtle flavor of the scallops. For toppings, use bread-crumbs when searing the scallops. It will create a crunch in your mouth that will compensate for the soft texture of the pasta.
When you are choosing your grain, don’t use plain white rice. If you absolutely have to use rice, use scented rice. Plain rice will make the eating experience very dull. A dish of couscous will perfectly blend with the sweet taste of scallops.
Steamed or sautéed vegetables work as a great side dish if you want to make some quick lunch or dinner. Many vegetables, mostly green ones such as broccoli and green beans allow you to prepare a very nice and quick meal in a very little time.
You can also grill your favorite vegetables with your favorite combination of spices to use as a side dish with scallops. As we mentioned earlier, scallops are a great source of linear protein, and green vegetables are filled with fiber which makes for a healthy meal.
Let’s admit it. Whenever you think about a side dish to complement scallops, you don’t think about potatoes. Yes, they are not a very classic element to be used as a side dish. But, if you are willing to try new things, potatoes hold great potential.
One of the reasons why you should definitely try red potatoes or baked potatoes with scallops is, the flavor of potatoes is mild enough to not overcome the flavor of the scallops. For homecooked scallops, potatoes can be your ideal side dish ingredient.
You are in luck if you happen to have rosemary herb potatoes in your pantry. They create a unique flavor and also a healthy meal. Just cut the potatoes and bake them in the oven as you would do with any other potatoes and you are good to go.
If there is one thing that you can’t go wrong while prepping your scallops, that would the sauce. Sauces can complement any food if chosen right. Scallops are no different. You can use food like pasta or vegetables, but a good sauce will make the dish taste a thousand times better.
A sauce that goes with almost any seafood is the lemon butter sauce. Lemon has the ability to squeeze out all the flavors available in scallops. Lemon butter sauce also works hand in hand with pasta or couscous.
You can try different sauces to see what is your favorite combination. The good old salsa or spicy curry, feel free to experiment. Once you find the right combination, you will be excited every time it is your turn to enjoy some delicious scallops.
But if you are not willing to go the extent to experiment with your food, common sauces like brown butter sauce or white wine sauce will work just fine. All you need to remember is that the scallops are your point of focus, not the side dishes.
Now that you know what type of food you want to put right beside the scallops, we assume it is safe to recommend some of our most favorite dishes for you to try out.
Grilled Vegetables with Seared Scallops
Grilled vegetables alongside pan-seared scallops make for a great midday meal or a light dinner. Before you start putting scallops in the pan, remember that scallops cook very quickly and if overcooked, the scallops will become hard and rubbery, ruining the original taste.
Start grilling the vegetables at least 30 minutes before the scallops. Chopped up tomatoes and eggplants are a great start. Use olive oil, salt, and pepper as per your liking to season the vegetables. You can use either an outside grill or an oven to roast the vegetables.
Sear the scallops on an iron skillet or a non-stick pan. Another option is grilling the scallops as well with the vegetables to try out a new way of cooking.
Scallops with Potatoes and Peas
We talked about this already. Potatoes are a great unconventional choice as a side dish with scallops. Cut some baby potatoes and toss them in the pan. Use salt, pepper and olive oil to cook the potatoes thoroughly for at least 15 minutes.
Use chopped black olives, chopped parsley, and adequate spices to make a delicious potato salad. Toss in the scallops when the potatoes are almost done and serve as hot as it comes. As a result, you have a crispy and healthy salad along with some soft buttery scallops the cancel out the characteristic of each other.
There you have it. Our top picks for you to start on your scallops meal. Scallops are as good as seafood get. Foodies don’t hesitate to consider different options any time they have the chance to eat scallops in a different way.
Whether you prefer grilled or seared scallops, the dishes we recommended are amazing complementary foods to try on the side. Our ideas and recipes for side dishes alongside scallops are probably the safest positions to start. If you think you are a food enthusiast, just go out there and buy the necessary ingredients to try out something new and exciting to serve with scallops!
- Scallop recipes – BBC good Food