Grilled scallops with oyster sauce and sesame

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This barbecued scallop recipe from Helen Graves is incredibly simple and takes literally minutes to prepare. The scallops are cooked in their shells directly over hot coals for a fast, quick sear, whilst the umami-rich sauce bubbles away and adds plenty of flavour.

First published in 2019

Scallops cook quickly and the heat from a barbecue is fierce, which means this recipe goes from kitchen to table in around ten minutes. The sauce is simple yet delicious, thanks to the oyster sauce which gives the seafood a luxurious sticky sheen.

You can also cook the scallops on a griddle pan in the kitchen, but the smokiness of the barbecue really lifts the flavour.





Preheat a barbecue for direct cooking (but don’t put the grill on top). The coals are ready when glowing and covered in a layer of grey ash
Open the scallops by sliding a knife between the two shells and slide it around gently, cutting the muscle which joins the two halves together. Twist the blade of the knife to separate the two shells. Use the knife to remove the tough muscle attached to the side (the flappy, translucent thing), then lift the scallop carefully from the shell
Wash and dry the shells, then brush the scallops with a little oil so they don't stick and place inside the clean curved half of the shell. Set aside
Combine the garlic, ginger, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, white pepper and a splash of water in a bowl
Place a teaspoon of the sauce on top of each scallop then carefully place each shell directly onto the coals (or a griddle pan) - it’s best to put them around the edges of the coals rather than right in the middle, where they might catch and burn
Stay with the scallops and, after two minutes, carefully turn them within their shells using tongs. Add another teaspoon of each sauce to each shell and cook for a further two minutes
Once cooked through (exact cooking time will depend on the size of the scallops) use tongs and heavy duty heatproof gloves to remove the scallops from the heat and garnish with the sesame seeds and coriander. Serve immediately

Helen Graves is Head of Content at Great British Chefs. She's also the author of the cookbook LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions, Old and New, and the editor of Pit, an independent magazine with roots in live fire cooking.

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