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Slow Cooker Scallops

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Slow Cooker Scallops is an elegant, easy-to-make dish that brings out the delicate flavors of sea scallops in a savory broth. This recipe is perfect for special occasions or a convenient weeknight meal, combining the rich tastes of garlic, white wine, and herbs. The slow cooker method ensures the scallops are cooked to perfection, tender, and flavorful.

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Ingredients

  • Sea Scallops: 1 lb sea scallops
  • Garlic: 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • White Wine: 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Broth: 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Lemon Juice: 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Thyme: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Parsley: 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions

1. Prepare the Ingredients

Mince the Garlic

  • Start by finely mincing the garlic cloves. Garlic adds a robust flavor that complements the delicate taste of the scallops.

Melt the Butter

  • Melt the butter either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Melted butter will coat the scallops, adding richness to the dish.

2. Combine Ingredients in Slow Cooker

Add the Scallops

  • Place the sea scallops in the slow cooker in an even layer. This ensures that they cook evenly.

Add the Aromatics and Liquids

  • Add the minced garlic, dry white wine, and chicken broth to the slow cooker.
  • Pour the melted butter and lemon juice over the scallops. The acidity of the lemon juice balances the richness of the butter and broth.

Season the Scallops

  • Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, dried thyme, and dried parsley. These seasonings enhance the natural flavors of the scallops and the overall dish.

3. Cook

Low and Slow

  • Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 1.5 to 2 hours. The scallops should be opaque and tender. Be careful not to overcook them, as scallops can become rubbery.

4. Serve

Garnish

  • If desired, garnish with fresh parsley or an additional sprinkle of dried parsley for a burst of color and flavor.

Enjoy

  • Serve the scallops hot, pairing them with your favorite side dishes for a complete meal.

Cooking Notes

Scallop Selection

  • Choose fresh sea scallops for the best flavor and texture. If using frozen scallops, ensure they are fully thawed and patted dry to avoid excess moisture, which can dilute the flavors.

Wine Substitute

  • If you prefer not to use wine, replace it with an equal amount of chicken broth. Alternatively, a splash of apple cider vinegar can provide the necessary acidity.

Herb Options

  • Fresh herbs can be substituted for dried herbs to enhance the flavor. Adjust quantities as needed to avoid overpowering the delicate taste of the scallops.

Variations

Herb-Infused Scallops

  • Add fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs to the slow cooker for a more pronounced herb flavor. The fresh herbs will infuse the scallops and broth with their aroma, creating a more complex dish.

Garlic Butter Scallops

  • Increase the garlic to 5 cloves and add 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese before serving for a richer dish. The additional garlic and cheese will create a more robust flavor profile.

Spicy Scallops

  • Incorporate 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use bay scallops instead of sea scallops?

A: Yes, you can use bay scallops, which are smaller and cook faster. Check for doneness after 1 hour to avoid overcooking.

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Q: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave to avoid toughening the scallops.

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Q: Can I add vegetables to this recipe?

A: Yes, you can add vegetables such as asparagus, cherry tomatoes, or spinach. Add them during the last 30 minutes of cooking to prevent overcooking and retain their texture.

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Q: What sides complement this dish?

A: Serve with rice, pasta, crusty bread, or a fresh green salad to create a complete meal. The simplicity of these sides allows the flavors of the scallops to stand out.

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Q: Can I use a different type of broth?

A: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth if you prefer a different flavor profile or need to accommodate dietary preferences.

Q: Can I use frozen scallops?

A: Yes, but make sure they are fully thawed and patted dry before adding to the slow cooker. This helps to ensure even cooking and prevents excess moisture from diluting the flavors.

Q: Is it necessary to use fresh herbs?

A: While fresh herbs can enhance the flavor, dried herbs work well in this recipe. Adjust the quantities if using fresh herbs to avoid overpowering the dish.

Q: Can I make this dish in advance?

A: Yes, you can prepare the ingredients in advance and store them in the refrigerator. Assemble and start the slow cooker when you’re ready to cook.

Q: How do I know when the scallops are done?

A: The scallops are done when they are opaque and firm to the touch. Overcooking can make them tough, so keep an eye on the time.

Q: What type of wine should I use?

A: Use a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The acidity in these wines complements the richness of the scallops and broth.

Slow Cooker Scallops is an elegant and flavorful dish that showcases the tenderness of sea scallops. The combination of garlic, wine, and herbs creates a rich and savory broth that perfectly complements the delicate scallops. This recipe is not only easy to prepare but also versatile, allowing for various flavor enhancements to suit your taste. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or cooking for a cozy night in, this slow cooker scallops recipe is sure to impress.

Serving Suggestions

Pair these scallops with:

  • Rice or Quinoa: The grains absorb the flavorful broth, making for a satisfying accompaniment.
  • Pasta: Serve over linguine or fettuccine tossed with a little olive oil and garlic for a hearty meal.
  • Vegetables: Roasted or steamed vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, or Brussels sprouts add a healthy and colorful contrast.
  • Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the scallops.

Tips for Success

  • Pat Dry the Scallops: Ensure the scallops are patted dry to prevent excess moisture, which can affect the texture and flavor.
  • Even Cooking: Place the scallops in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
  • Monitor Cooking Time: Check for doneness early to prevent overcooking.

By following these tips and variations, you can create a dish that is both impressive and delicious. Slow Cooker Scallops is a testament to how simple ingredients and a slow cooker can transform into a gourmet meal with minimal effort. Enjoy this luxurious and flavorful dish with family and friends, making any occasion special.

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