Fried Scallop Sandwich

October  4, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Right before moving away from Boston a couple of weeks ago, I went out to lunch with one of my best friends there. Several nights before, she and I had struck up a conversation with a waiter from B&G Oysters while we were trying to spy on a cooking class in at Barbara Lynch's "Stir" that turned out not to be a cooking class but rather a bunch of staff eating cold, leftover pizza, which they offered to us. The waiter made us promise to come for lunch at B&G that week because it was restaurant week and they were serving a special fried clam sandwich. I don't love fried clam sandwiches in general (or fried oyster or shrimp sandwiches for that matter), or at least, I thought I didn't. Turns out I don't like soggy, heavily battered deep fried seafood, but the clam sandwich we had at the restaurant was amazingly crispy and flavorful with a lovely herby mayo.

I got a craving for another last week, but as it turns out, shellfish (unless you want zebra mussels) aren't quite as abundant in the Midwest as they are in New England (I know, big shock). But they had just gotten a shipment of Bay Scallops from Newfoundland at our grocery store and they were having a special, so I got a bunch of those and figured they might work sort of similarly to clams. Something about frying scallops made me feel sort of Italian (who knows...), so instead of plain old mayo, I made a quick salsa verde mayo, packed the scallops onto some toasty ciabatta, and added arugula and some slices of the last of the season's tomatoes. Insanely messy. These sandwiches don't want to stay together for anything. They're not company food, but they were crazy delicious.

On a side note, in general I haven't been super successful at making fried food. (I think it knows I'm scared of it.) But, one thing I have learned through a lot of screwing it up is, make sure your oil is hot enough! Hot, I tell you! —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

This was my first time frying scallops and boy were they addictive. In her version of a fried fish sandwich, fiveandspice has you coat scallops with two types of cornmeal, paprika and Aleppo pepper, and then quickly fry them in hot oil. The scallop’s exterior was crispy with a kick of warm heat, while the interior was moist and sweet. These sandwiches were delicious served with peppery arugula and a ripe, juicy tomato, but it was the easy-to-prepare, irresistible salsa verde mayo -- with summery flavors of parsley, capers, garlic and anchovies -- that made the sandwich really sing. One tip: refrain from flipping the scallops until the bottom surfaces completely brown or the delicate breading may stick to the pan. —cookinginvictoria

What You'll Need
  • Fried Scallops
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 4 big ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • arugula
  • salsa verde mayo (see below)
  • Salsa verde mayo
  • 1 handful Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed and chopped
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons brined or salted capers (rinsed, if salted)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup good quality mayo
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Fried Scallops
  2. In pie plate or other shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeals and all the seasonings.
  3. In a medium, deep frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it's nice and hot (about 350°F). Toss the scallops in the cornmeal mixture to coat them well. Then, add half of them to the pan. Fry them, flipping after 1-2 minutes, until they are golden and crisped on each side. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon or spatula and put them on a paper towel lined plate. Fry the remaining scallops the same way. (You could also fry them in a deep fryer if you have one.)
  4. Spread the mayo on both sides of the toasted ciabatta rolls. Fill the rolls with arugula, tomato slices, and scallops. Serve with plenty of napkins on the side.
  1. Salsa verde mayo
  2. In a small food processor (or with a mortar and pestle) process together the parsley, basil, and garlic until pretty finely chopped. Add in the anchovy and process a little more. Add the capers, the olive oil, and the lemon juice and pulse a few times. Finally, add in the mayo and process until everything is blended together. Add salt to taste. Scrape into a bowl and use for the scallop sandwiches as well as any variety of other sandwiches (it's darn good with porchetta).
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Doug Patrick
    Doug Patrick
  • Gaia Goodness Natural Foods
    Gaia Goodness Natural Foods
  • gingerroot
  • fiveandspice

6 Reviews

Doug P. December 17, 2015
Nantucket Scallop sandwich.. add bacon to above or go to Cafe Alfresco, Brewster, MA on the Cape...
Gaia G. June 13, 2014
I grew up in DC, which is a hard core seafood town, about a mile from the wharf. I basically lived on seafood. I live in LA now and rarely eat much seafood because I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to shrimp, crab, and oysters. Scallops are one of my absolute favorites and I never buy them to cook at home because I'm not a fan of grocery store pre-frozen seafood. This recipe however has me planning a trip to the Redondo Beach Fisherman's Wharf. I can't wait try this out. I think I'm going to make it using my banana mango ketchup remoulade too.
Muse September 30, 2012
Love my fried seafood...can't wait to give this one a try!
fiveandspice September 30, 2012
Hope you like it!
gingerroot September 27, 2012
I like the sound of crazy delicious and I love the idea of salsa verde mayo. YUM.
fiveandspice September 27, 2012
Thanks Jenny!