Make Scallop Casserole For A Fancy Meal Without The Stress

People often associate fancy meals with something you make if you have guests you want to impress or are perhaps planning a romantic dinner to schmooze a spouse. While you may not want to put in a great deal of effort unless the stakes are high, something low-effort but luxurious makes a nice little treat to serve yourself, as well. After all, no one deserves your best efforts as much as you do. Well, as long as you're not shellfish allergic, you couldn't ask for an easier special occasion dish than scallop casserole — the one from developer Erin Johnson's recipe just takes 15 minutes to throw together once you have all of the ingredients in place.

As Johnson says of her recipe, "This casserole allows me to make a delicious dish quickly and with little hands-on effort." All you are doing, after all, is combing scallops with white wine, garlic, shallots, and butter and baking them with a crushed cracker crust. While Johnson cooks her casserole in a single pan, if you really want to up the elegance, you could opt for individual ramekins or even the kind of scallop shells that have been processed for baking purposes.

What kind of scallops should you use for this recipe?

As Johnson says of the main ingredient in her casserole, "Scallops ... are not an inexpensive ingredient." Well, hardly anything is these days, but scallops do tend to cost quite a bit more than shrimp and are priced more in line with high-end crustaceans like crab and lobster. Since you'll be investing so heavily in them, it pays to put a bit of thought into which ones you're going to buy. The main types of scallops you're likely to see in grocery stores are sea scallops, which are the larger, more expensive ones; and bay scallops, which are bite-sized and budget-priced (relatively speaking). If you go for the cheaper option, you'll have the Barefoot Contessa seal of approval as these are the kind Ina Garten uses to make her scallops gratin (which is a fancy name for a similar crumb-topped casserole). Should you prefer the meatier sea scallops, though, you can always cut them in quarters to make the casserole easier to eat.

Unless you live in close proximity to an ocean, chances are your scallops won't be fresh-caught, but there's no shame in buying frozen. You will need to plan ahead a bit, though, as it's best to thaw them overnight in the fridge. Still, all is not lost if you forget this step since you can always thaw them out quickly under cold running water. Again the advantage goes to bay scallops here since smaller things thaw more quickly.