Fish Course : Broiled Sea Scallops in Vermouth Sauce

Wine Suggestion : White Burgundy, White Chateauneuf du Pape, California Chardonnay or Viognier

The third course of a seven course formal dinner is the fish course. Sea Scallops perish quickly out of water so they are usually sold already shucked. They should be a pearly off-white color. Bright white scallops may have been treated with a preservative and should be avoided. Scallops should have a sweet fresh smell. Bad scallops will smell sulfurous. You can choose from sea or bay scallops. Sea scallops are larger, up to two inches in diameter, and bay scallops about one inch in size. Two sea scallops per person will be plenty. Scallops can be enjoyed raw. The term vermouth comes from the german vermut - or wormwood. Before wormwood was declared poisonous it was the main flavoring ingredient. Vermouth is an aromatized wine. Additives are included to modify the taste (sugar, herbs, roots and spices).

2 pounds fresh sea scallops (or bay scallops)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup bread crumbs
5 tablespoons each of parsley, chives, tarragon and dill, chopped very finely.
2/3 cup melted butter
ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. Arrange scallops in a large, buttered glass baking dish. Add vermouth and swirl gently to distribute evenly. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 of each of the herbs, salt and pepper very lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

2. Preheat broiler.

3. After marinating, dust the herbs from the tops of the scallops and brush each with 1 teaspoon of melted butter, followed by a very light coating of bread crumbs. Add a pinch on nutmeg to each and broil for approximately 5 - 8 minutes, until done through. (*)

4. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve.

(*) Be careful when broiling the scallops. Overcooked scallops can be very tough. Bay scallops require less time.