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Grilled Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Lemon-Caper Butter

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • Lemon-Caper Butter:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 tablespoons capers, preferably salt packed, rinsed and finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt

  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 bunches (12 to 14 ounces each) spinach, thick stems removed
  • 4 lemon wedges


In just a few moments on the stove, a potful of rough fresh spinach leaves wilts down into a silky bed for grilled scallops. A composed butter enlivened with capers and lemon zest creates a simple sauce as it melts on the hot greens and shellfish. Be sure to warm the dinner plates for a few minutes in a low oven to keep the food hot. Both the spinach and the scallops cool off quickly otherwise.

Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium (375°F). To make the lemon-caper butter, put the butter, capers, lemon zest, and parsley in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Remove the "foot" or small muscle on the side of each scallop. Halve the scallops horizontally, or slice them in thirds if they are jumbo scallops, so the slices are no more than½ inch thick. Season all over with salt and pepper and brush with the melted butter.

Put the spinach in a large pot with just the washing water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring with tongs once or twice, until the spinach is barely wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve or colander. Do not press on the leaves or squeeze them to extract more liquid; you want to leave them fairly moist. Return them to the same pot and add half of the lemon-caper butter. Toss with tongs over low heat so that the butter melts and coats the spinach. Taste for salt. Keep the spinach warm while you grill the scallops.

Grill the scallops directly over the coals or gas flame, turning once, until they are nicely marked by the grill and no longer translucent, about 5 minutes total.

Divide the spinach among warmed dinner plates. Arrange the scallops on top, and immediately slather the scallops with the remaining butter. The butter will melt from the heat of the shellfish. Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge and serve immediately.

Eating Local: Reprinted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing, recipes by Janet Fletcher, photography by Sara Remington

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