Scallops, garlic, wine, herbs....does it get much better?! Italian style steamed scallops Vongole style are a delicious, easy and impressive dish done in under 30 minutes! (GF and DF)
What Is Vongole?
Vongole is a delicious and fragrant broth style recipe with pasta. I omitted the pasta here to make it lighter but of course you can easily toss cooked pasta in and that is delicious too!
Vongole is traditionally made with 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 with pasta if you want. For more ideas, check out Best Scallop Appetizers and to finish off your meal, pick from the Best Side Dishes To Serve With Scallops Including Wine Pairings.
(I love seafood and have so many other yummy recipes like Miso Baked Oysters Motoyaki, Sesame Soy Steamed Oysters, Prawns in Tomato Fennel broth or for a warm curry, try my easy Snapper Laksa Recipe!
Scallops In Shell
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. If you can't get smaller swimming scallops in shell, larger scallops in shell work well too.
My Fishing Life
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!
Step by Step Instructions
I wanted a light, cream-free preparation for these delicate swimming scallops and Vongole is perfect. Aromatic garlic, shallot, chili and fennel give lots of mouth watering flavor without the heaviness of cream. Let me show you how easy it is!
- Heat oil and add shallot and garlic and cook until translucent then stir in fennel and chili flakes and cook until fragrant.
2. Add tomatoes and cook a few more minutes.
3. Add wine and bring to a boil before adding broth and returning heat to medium. Taste and add salt and pepper at this point if needed.
4. Once liquid is at a low boil, add scallops all at once and put the lid on, allowing the steam to build up. Cook until 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!
If you want to add pasta, add cooked, al dente pasta (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.
Shellfish - You can easily swap clams or mussels for a dish just as delicious.
Herbs - Basil or chives are wonderful substitutions for parsley if you prefer or can't find parsley.
- Classic Pasta Vongole - To make the classic vongole, you'll simply cook ¾ lb dry pasta until al dente and then toss it into the scallops and broth, tossing gently until liquid reduces and thickens slightly.
- Creamy Steamed Scallops - Want to make this extra luxurious? Reduce the wine and broth to ½ cup each and add in 1 cup of heavy cream at the same time you add the broth.
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.
One last note, be careful not to overcook the scallops. Once overcooked, they get rubbery and lose their sweet mild flavor.
For more on what I'm cooking up, follow me on Instagram or Facebook. You might also like my FREE printable weekly meal planner.
Cheers friends! Sabrina
Swimming Scallops Vongole Style
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil (Butter is a good substitute)
- 1 Shallot, minced (about ¼ c chopped shallot)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Fennel Seed (Anise seed is a good substitute)
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon Chili Flakes Adjust to your taste preference
- 1 c Cherry Tomatoes, halved (About 15 tomatoes)
- ¾ c Dry Unoaked White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc is my preference)
- ¾ 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.
There was a super popular vongole dish at an Italian restaurant I used to work and this blows it out of the water! And your photography is stunning. This will be on repeat all summer, 🙂
Wow, thank you so much Sharon! I’m glad you like it and I truly appreciate the kind words 🙂
These look and sound amazing. Of all the seafood we can get here, scallops is the one thing we can't get our hands on . Well, they are in the frozen section of Lidl supermarket and super pricey. Coming from Newfoundland, I have standards....lol! Scallops are so delicious.
Thanks Julia! I agree, buy what you can get freshest. Scallops are such a treat, they don’t need too many ingredients to make them shine.
What a gorgeous dish for summer! It sounds so much lighter without the pasta, perfect on the patio with a glass of crisp cold white wine.
I’m with you Kelly! A crisp cold 🥂 goes perfectly with these. Cheers!
These scallops look gorgeous! We often find only the scallop meat at grocery stores it would be a nice treat to find them in shells. And the vongole style of preparation sounds amazing!
Thank you so much, it is cool to serve them in those beautiful shells for sure. My daughter loves to clean and save them every time. This recipe works well even if you can only find the pre shucked scallops.
Woweeeee -- these scallops are absolutely gorgeous and really make me miss the west coast! Here in Alberta fresh scallops are such a treat, but I'm bookmarking this post for the next time we visit our local monger. Beautiful work!
Thank you Justine! Even here they are a treat! Enjoy 🙂
Bernice M Hill
What an absolutely stunning dish! There's a local guy that is bringing wild pink scallops and man, I'm so tempted to go grab some. How lucky you were to be growing up on the coast...I would have liked some prawns and scallops to break up the monotony of grass fed beef every night!
Thank you so much Bernice 🙂 you should definitely get the scallops from that guy and try them!
Wow, I have only had clams and linguine in vongole style at my favourite Italian restaurant. I need to find some scallops that has shells on them; I usually see the frozen stuff.
These will likely be very similar to an Italian restaurant version but I love the addition of the fennel for a little extra depth. I hope you're able to find some, if you have a fish monger locally, ask if they can bring in West Coast Wild Scallops!
Such a gorgeous looking summer recipe...we've been looking for something a little different to our usual meals. This looks perfect!
Thank you so much Riz, these are so light and delicious I think you’ll love them.
It's truly special to create a recipe that's equal parts delicious, beautiful, and simple. What a fantastic twist on a classic, and a wonderful way to use scallops in the shell. Cheers!
Thanks Sean, seafood is a passion of mine from growing up in a fishing family:-)
These scallops are perfect as an appetizer but now I want to make it as a main dish, adding the pasta as you mentioned. Absolutely delicious! Thank you.
Thank you so much Colleen! I’m glad you like the recipe. Have. Great week and thanks for taking the time to let me know 🙂
First time trying swimming scallops - lovely !! Didn’t have fennel but used some very nice young celery from Clever Crow. Great recipe.
Question - we cut off the little black piece as we ate - should we have cut off the brown muscle-y part surrounding them? It tasted fine.
The whole scallop is healthy and fine to eat. The black and orange bit can can be a bit stronger tasting so it is fine to remove either or both if you prefer. West coast scallops has a great tip, use one half of a scallop shell to gently remove that part as you eat or ahead of time. Thank you so much for letting me know how you liked the recipe!
If I could have this everyday I would. Scrumptious
Aw thanks Maureen! It is such a treat!
Such a perfect recipe! Love it!
Aw thanks Jill!
This looks super delicious!
Thank you chef!
Kate L. Dauphinee
Best broth ever!
Aw thanks Kate! I’m so happy to hear, I love it too!