Scallops with vermouth and tarragon

Scallops with vermouth and tarragon

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Scallops cooked and served in their shells give a luxury look to a special dinner party meal. The sauce is based on dry vermouth, a classic culinary companion for most seafood.

Pat Alburey

Serves: 4 

  • 24 scallops on the shell plus 24 shucked scallops
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 1 lemon
  • a few sprigs of tarragon or 1 tablespoon dried tarragon leaves
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups dry vermouth
  • black pepper
  • To garnish: lemon or lime wedges, tarragon sprigs

Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:7min  ›  Ready in:22min 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Arrange the scallop shells on baking trays and place an extra scallop on each.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic. Seed and finely chop the chilli. Finely grate the lemon rind and squeeze the juice. Chop enough fresh tarragon to give about 2 tablespoons; put aside.
  3. Combine the garlic, chilli and butter in a medium-sized saucepan over moderate heat. Add the lemon rind and juice, chopped tarragon, vermouth and a generous grinding of pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
  4. Spoon the sauce over the scallops and place in the oven. Bake for 6–8 minutes, until the scallops have turned opaque and are cooked through.
  5. Remove from the oven, arrange on four warmed plates, and garnish with lemon wedges and tarragon sprigs. Serve immediately.


good source of vitamin B group, and iron and iodine.


If scallops on the shell are not readily available you can use shucked scallops; buy four dozen, preferably not frozen, and cook them in the oven in small shallow ramekins or gratin dishes.

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