Baked Scallops (Vieiras Al Gallego)

A classic dish from Santiago de Compostella, inland from the Atlantic coast of Galicia, where scallops grow in abundance. Santiago (St James) is the patron saint of Spain and the scallop shell is his emblem. For over a thousand years, pilgrims have made the long, arduous journey to this shrine, and in former times used scallop shells to scoop water from the streams


serves 4
6 large scallops
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium-hot dried chilli, such as guindiila, deseeded and finely crushed
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (pimenton dulce)
250 g tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon brandy
30 g fine fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped
fresh flat leaf parsley
sea salt
4 large scallop shells or small gratin dishes


1. Cut the scallops in half horizontally and arrange 3 halves in each scallop shell or gratin dish. Season lightly.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry until very soft but not coloured.

3. Stir in the chilli, paprika and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the brandy and continue cooking until thickened.

4. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley and a little salt. Spoon an equal amount of sauce over each scallop dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Spoon over the remaining oil and bake under a medium-hot grill/broiler for 5 minutes until golden. Serve at once.

Note One of the leading white wine varieties of Spain is Albariho, a favourite in trendy tapas bars from Barcelona to Madrid. It comes from the Rias Baixas region on the Atlantic coast between Santiago and the Portuguese border. Excellent, dry and aromatic, it is a great partner for all kinds of seafood.

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