Venice Recipes: Capesante A la Selvadega – Baked Scallops Italian Recipe
The seafood flavours of Venetian cuisine are based on the choice of quality fish which comes from the Northern Adriatic Sea. In Venice itself this excellent fish can be found at the Rialto Market.
The Rialto Market is the fish market with the most amount of history in Italy. All the fish from the surrounding lagoon, from Caorle and the entire Adriatic coast is brought here on a daily basis. Every morning on wooden benches, covered by marquees, you can buy turbots, sea bass, sea brim, sturgeon, and all varieties of shellfish.
We like to visit the Rialto Market just before starting our cooking courses in Venice – we like to wander and pick the freshest fish which will then be used in our cooking school. Cooking is not just about putting ingredients together, it’s also about knowing which are the best ingredients to use! So while we walk around the market, we like to teach our students how to pick the best fish, when to buy it and how to cook it!
Today, for our weekly Back to Venetian basic recipe, we would like to propose a fish dish based on a particular seashell, Scallops, which in Venice decorates the tables of the great celebrations. Since pretty soon it will be Christmas, we believe this baked scallops italian way will be a perfect appetizer which will delight and please all your guests.
Scallops in Venice are known as Capa Santa, Santarela, Pelegrina, Pettine, Ventaglio. They are a marine bivalve mollusk, that means that their shell is formed by two valves, one convex and the other flat.
It is one of the most prized shellfish, containing inside a white clam, which is called in Italian “noce” (muscle), and a soft red part that in Italian is called “corallo” (coral colored roe). There are also some brown sections, which are often filled with sand.
Scallops are also rich in Omega 3. These mollusks are usually cooked on the grill, or gratined or deep fried in batter.
The following recipe is a very basic simple way to cook the scallops in the oven – the title itself means in a simple wild way! The secret of this dish is the freshness of the scallops.
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Capesante A la Selvadega – Naturally baked Scallops
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of parley
12 tablespoon of breadcrumbs (one for each scallop)
24 tablespoons of brandy (2 tablespoons for each scallop)
Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.
Chop finely the garlic and the parsley together – using a sturdy and sharp ceramic knive from U-Cook Italia will make the job much easier (by the way, they are offering a 50% discount on all orders placed before Christmas, what are you waiting for!).
Wash the scallops. Place them in a large frying pan, placing them on their flat side. Turn the heat on on a moderate level so the heat will disclose a little the shells. As soon as they start to open a little, use a sharp knife to pry them open completely. Pull away the flat shell.
Remove the brown side muscle (the one filled with sand). Dislodge the main muscle and the coral and rinse.
Now place the deep shells with the scallops on a baking tray. Place a little bit of parsley and garlic on each scallop. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs on each scallop with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of brandy on each scallop.
Bake in preheated oven uncovered, until crumbs are brown and scallops are done, about 11 to 14 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges on the side. We were lucky enough to be able to present our baked scallops Italian way on a beautifully Murano glass plate by the famous Glass Institute Abate Zanetti in Venice.