What’s the secret to taking almost any food from good to great? Add bacon, of course. It works for the burger. It works for the omelet. It works for salads, sandwiches, and soups. And it really works well when you wrap rashers of bacon around succulent scallops, as chef and recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate Meals has here. The rich, savory goodness of the bacon balances the tender saltiness of the scallops, making a great appetizer or entree option — your party guests or diners will appreciate them either way.
"The bacon-wrapped scallops are very simple to make, and yet super impressive at the same time," says Rapone. And depending on you the occasion you’d like to serve them, she adds, "This is great as an appetizer or an addition to a hors d’oeuvres spread. As a main dish, the scallops are delicious with risotto." Of course, you can also go with potatoes, rice, or a pasta with a rich, creamy sauce. Whatever sounds great to you, because scallops and bacon are just delightful together.
Gather your ingredients for bacon-wrapped scallops
Deciding whether to serve your bacon wrapped scallops as an app or an entree is on you. When it comes to the ingredients you use to prep the dish, Rapone has you covered.
To make four decent servings, you’ll need 12 ounces of bacon ("Regular thickness, not thick sliced," Rapone says.), 1 pound of scallops ("Not bay scallops!"), 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, and ⅓ cup of maple syrup. And for the optional but highly recommended dipping/drizzle sauce, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, ½ cup of apple cider, and you’ll reserve some bacon fat.
Cook the bacon, and reserve some fat
To start the recipe, preheat the oven to 425 F, and line a large plate with paper towels. Begin to heat a large nonstick skillet (or lightly greased pan) over medium heat.
Next, cut the bacon slices in half, then add the bacon in a single layer, and cook it for three to four minutes total, flipping each strip every one minute. "You want it to start cooking and render some of the fat, but do not crisp all the way,’ says Rapone, adding, "You may need to do this in batches."
Remove the cooked bacon to the paper-towel lined plate, and set it aside. Then, pour the bacon fat out of the skillet into a bowl, as you will use it later.
Wrap the scallops in bacon, baste, and bake
Whisk the soy sauce and maple syrup together in a small bowl, then set it aside. Now, wrap each scallop in a half slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. If your scallops are inconsistently sized or on the small side, put two together to wrap in the bacon. The key is to keep the bacon to a single layer — do not overlap the bacon.
Now, place the bacon-wrapped scallops on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, then brush each scallop with the soy sauce and maple syrup mixture. Place the scallops in the oven, and cook them for 12 to 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Baste them with the sauce every five minutes as they cook.
Prep the sauce, then serve
To make the sauce, add 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to the skillet you used to cook the bacon, and heat it up over medium heat. Once the fat is hot, but not smoking, add the apple cider vinegar, and scrape loose any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Let the liquid reduce for one minute, then add the apple cider, and stir.
Let the sauce cook and reduce for five to seven minutes, until it gets really bubbly and is starting to thicken. Then, add the remaining soy sauce and maple syrup baste, and stir these in. Continue to reduce for about two minutes. Rapone says, "You want it to be thick, but not turn to candy."
And you’re done! Serve the scallops with the sauce for dipping. And do enjoy ASAP, as Rapone remarks, "This is one of those things that is best when it’s fresh. I would make it within a day of buying the scallops, and enjoy it the same day you make it. While it’s safe to store them in the fridge for a couple of days and reheat them (in the oven at 400 F for 10 minutes), it does change the texture in a way that I personally find unpleasant."
- 12 ounces bacon (regular thickness)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 pound scallops
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, for the sauce
- ½ cup apple cider, for the sauce
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Line a large plate with paper towels.
- Cut the bacon slices in half.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the bacon in a single layer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes total, flipping every 1 minute. (You want it to start cooking and render some of the fat, but not crisp all the way. You may need to do this in batches.)
- Remove the cooked bacon to the paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.
- Pour the bacon fat out of the skillet into a bowl — you will use it later.
- Whisk the soy sauce and maple syrup together, then set aside.
- Wrap each scallop in a ½-slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. If your scallops are inconsistently sized or on the small side, put 2 together to wrap in the bacon. (Do not overlap the bacon.)
- Place the bacon-wrapped scallops on a wire rack set into a rimmed baking sheet, then brush each scallop with the soy sauce and maple syrup mixture.
- Place in the oven, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisp, basting with the sauce every 5 minutes.
- To make the dipping sauce, add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat to the skillet you used to cook the bacon, and heat it up over medium heat.
- Once hot, but not smoking, add the apple cider vinegar, and scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Let it reduce for 1 minute.
- Add the apple cider, and stir, letting it cook and reduce for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets really bubbly and starts to thicken.
- Add the remaining soy sauce and maple syrup baste, and stir in. Continue to reduce for 2 minutes.
- Serve the scallops with the sauce for dipping.