Capesante al Forno

Before we moved to the United States, we rented a tiny apartment in the heart of Venice for years. Oh, was I in love with this city! We feasted on the local prosecco, ate cicètti, black squid ink risotto, and these mouthwatering scallops (capesante), a Venetian specialty. We bought them whole in the shell at the beautiful Rialto market, opened and prepared them in our teeny-weeny kitchen, and ate them on our incredibly beautiful roof terrace, overlooking the red roofs and church towers of Venice. We couldn’t have been happier! To be honest, I haven’t made them in a while; they just seem to taste best in Venice. Moreover, I eat fewer ‘animals’ nowadays. But then the Dutch food magazine delicious. requested Petra and me to come up with an Italian fish recipe for their Italian issue. It was obvious to us that this had to be a Venetian inspired recipe. How I would love to share this dish with Petra at the same kitchen table right now… preferably in Venice.

Note: These Capesante are wonderful together with the Shaved Asparagus Salad, the other dish we shared with delicious.

Starter, serves 4
Action Time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes baking

¼ good quality baguette ( I love St Germain baguette of Whole Foods)
1½ olive oil, plus extra
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
8-12 fresh scallops, cleaned (ask your fishmonger)
a splash of white wine
1 tbsp cold unsalted butter, flaked

Extra: food processor, greased oven dish (or 4 ramekins or scallop shells)

1. Heat the oven to 300F/150C. Slice the bread in half lengthwise, and cut the halves into pieces. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until almost dried. Let cool and then process in a food processor, until you have coarse breadcrumbs.

2. Increase the oven temperature to 425F/220C. In a bowl, mix 6 tbsp breadcrumbs with the oil, garlic, cayenne, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place the scallops in the oven dish and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Drizzle over some wine and olive oil. Top the scallops with the breadcrumb mixture. Divide the butter over the breadcrumbs and bake the scallops, depending on their size, 8-10 minutes in the oven, until golden. Serve with bread and our Shaved Asparagus Salad.

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