Centenary Baked Scallops

Method

We asked to @candidsbyJo to recreate a 1920s recipe to help us celebrate our milestone Centenary year. read on to see how she got on.

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I held my breath as I slipped the oyster knife into the lip of the scallop shell and with a slight twist of the wrist I pried its mouth slightly ajar. No juice spilt out as it would from oysters, a fellow bivalve. I am slightly relieved. Half the task is over from here and I am that much closer to bearding a scallop for the first time.

To celebrate Stoves’ centenary the British cooking appliance company asked me to recreate a savoury dish from the 1920s out of The Downstairs Cookbook by Margaret Powell, a kitchen maid in that time period who later became a bestselling author and whose story is credited as one of the inspirations for Downton Abbey.

I was eager to rise to the challenge and prepare something I would not normally cook. The Scallops Baked recipe seemed easy enough but it is the specific instruction to beard a scallop that intrigued me since of course scallops are now readily sold at the local fishmongers or supermarket already bearded with just the meat and coral attached.

It is a messy affair bearding scallops. The viscosity of the scallop beard was squeam-inducing as I worked on removing the slippery intestinal tract from the meat, taking care to keep that prized delicacy as whole as possible. One scallop down and I’m filled with pride. After all the scallops are bearded the rest was easy, scatter a 1/4 inch thick of breadcrumbs on a buttered baking tray, lay the scallops down, spritz of lemon juice and top with another coat of breadcrumbs on the surface, each then dotted with butter. While it bakes in the oven for 25 minutes I fry up some parsley (another first!) as garnish.

scallops baked

serves 4, takes 45 mins

1 dozen scallops
2 oz butter
breadcrumbs
lemon juice
parsley
pepper, salt

Remove the scallops from their shells and beard them. Grease a fire-proof dish and place a layer of breadcrumbs on the bottom – about 1/4 inch thick, put the scallops on this, add seasoning, a little lemon juice and another layer of breadcrumbs, not too thick. Dot with the butter bake in a moderate oven at Gas 4-5/Electricity 350-375F (177 – 190C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with fried parsley.

I am pleasantly surprised. My preference is usually for scallops lightly seared and assumed there would be a loss of the soft texture when baked. This is not the case with Powell’s recipe and it only calls for a few simple ingredients. I may even have this recipe earmarked for the first dinner party I throw once it’s safe to host larger gatherings only, I’ll leave the bearding to someone else.

 

 

Ingredients

Prep time: 10 Minutes

Cook time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1 dozen scallops

  • 2 oz butter

  • breadcrumbs

  • lemon juice

  • parsley

  • pepper, salt