Scallops, garlic, wine, herbs….does it get much better?! I made these steamed swimming scallops vongole style but without the pasta, though you can easily toss cooked pasta in and that is delicious too!
Fresh BC swimming scallops are tender, briny and delicious. (I got mine from West Coast Wild Scallops based here on Vancouver Island!) This is gorgeous, showstopping seafood at it’s best and needs only a quick steam or saute to let their sweet flavour shine through.
When I used to prawn fish with my dad, we occasionally caught wild swimming scallops. They were such a treat, breaking up the monotony of eating prawns, crab and other seafood day in and day out….well obviously just kidding, but it was exciting when we caught them and they would be on the menu that night!
I wanted a light, cream-free preparation for these delicate swimming scallops and vongole seemed a natural fit. Vongole is traditionally clams steamed in olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and white wine and then tossed with pasta. I’ve added a few more aromatics and omitted the pasta for a lovely appetizer but there is plenty of broth for making traditional vongole if you want. To make the classic vongole, you’ll simply cook 3/4 lb dry pasta until al dente and then toss it into the scallops and broth, tossing gently until liquid reduces and thickens slightly.
I hope you love this recipe as much as all my taste testers! This is fresh, healthy, local and full of bright clean flavours. *Feel free to substitute clams or mussels if that is what you are able to get.
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Swimming Scallops Vongole Style
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil (Butter is a good substitute)
- 1 Shallot, minced (about 1/4 c chopped shallot)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seed (Anise seed is a good substitute)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Chili Flakes Adjust to your taste preference
- 1 c Cherry Tomatoes, halved (About 15 tomatoes)
- 3/4 c Dry Unoaked White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc is my preference)
- 3/4 c Vegetable Broth (Chicken Broth works equally well)
- 2 lb Swimming Scallops, fresh or frozen, still in shell and rinsed.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: Chopped parsley and chive flowers for garnish
- Heat oil in a large saucepan that has a lid on medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until translucent then stir in fennel and chili flakes, cook one more minute.
- Add tomatoes and continue cooking until just starting to break down, then add wine and bring to a boil for 2 minutes (to burn off some of the alcohol) then add broth and return heat to medium. Taste and add salt and pepper at this point if needed.
- Once liquid is at a high simmer or low boil, add scallops all at once and put lid on. Cook until all the scallops are opened, approximately 4-5 minutes. Toss gently with parsley and chive flowers if using and serve in bowls with crusty bread and a glass of that Sauvignon Blanc!
- *Optional: If wanting to add pasta, add pasta that's been cooked to al dente (cooked but still a bit firm to the bite) right after the scallops are cooked and toss through with the herbs. The pasta will soak up a bit of the steaming liquid and make a lovely sauce.
If you like this recipe, you’ll also love my Prawn recipe here.