Grilled scallops, garlic butter & nori crumbs

by Tim Maddams

Tim Maddams’ expert guide to cooking scallops

For more tips on how to cook the perfect scallops, read the article that inspired this recipe.


12 medium, fresh, hand-dived scallops
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
20g butter
A sprig of parsley, washed and chopped
1 sheet of nori seaweed  


The hard part here is preparing the scallops—and it's fairly easy.

Opening fresh scallops involves the use of a sharp knife and a little practice, but you will get the hang of it very quickly. First, you will need to get to know the scallop a little. A brief inspection will reveal that one side of the shell is flat and the other convex.

Grasp the scallop in your non-knife hand (ie if you are right-handed, use your left hand to hold the scallop) holding it by the hinge edge. Your thumb needs to be towards you and on the flat side of the scallop shell. Insert a long sharp and lightly flexible knife into the opening near the hinge of the shell and out the other side (mind your fingers!).

Exert a small amount of pressure against the flat side of the shell with the blade edge so you know the blade is close to the inside flat shell surface. Now gently but firmly work the knife downwards until you reach the bottom of the shell.

You should now find that you can open the shell and remove the flat half. In the other half, you will see the scallop, the frills and the black 'stomach' sack.

Carefully trim away the frills and stomach sack from the scallop meat and roe, leaving the remaining bits as intact as possible and still stuck to the convex half of the shell. Keep the frills and discard the black bits and any gritty parts. You can save the frills to add to your next batch of fish soup or stock.

Repeat this process for the remaining scallops. You now have what we call ‘scallops on the half shell’. Well done, that’s the tough part out of the way. All that remains is some simple preparation and a hot grill.

To make the parsley and garlic butter, allow the butter to soften and place the garlic, butter, parsley and a little salt and pepper into a small blender and blend until it turns bright green.

Meanwhile, toast your nori sheet under the grill to crisp it up, then pop it in a blender and blend until a fine crumb, verging on a powder, is formed.

Place a little of the butter on top of each scallop and place under a well-heated grill or into a seriously hot oven (250C) and cook until the butter is bubbling and the scallops have firmed up and look cooked. They will continue to cook a little from the heat in the shells after coming out from under the grill, but even so, do not under cook them. They want to be firm to the touch and piping hot. 

Remove from the grill and add a tiny bit more butter to each one, allowing it to melt.

To serve, simply scatter a good pinch of the nori over the now-rested but still-warm scallops and squeeze over a little lemon. Enjoy. You may find a little bread useful for mopping up the juices, though I must confess I tend to pick up the shell and simply pour it into my mouth—but then I am a little uncouth.

Recipe: Tim Maddams