Dorie Greenspan’s Butter Poached Scallops in a Pouch

December 16, 2017

Author Notes: Cooking in a parchment-paper pouch is a traditional way to quickly infuse flavor into delicate seafood. Here, the flavor is butter and lemon, a classic with almost anything that swims, and the seafood is scallops. The twist is the lemon: It’s salt-preserved, citron confit, a staple in Mediterranean cuisines. You can make and refrigerate the packets up to 6 hours ahead; let them come to room temperature on the counter while you preheat the oven.
Reprinted with permission from Short Stack Editions Vol. 30: Butter, by Dorie Greenspan (
Dorie Greenspan

Serves: 4


  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and dried
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 16 sea scallops, preferably all a similar size, patted dry
  • 16 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons dry white wine
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F and place a rack in the center position Cut four 15-inch squares of parchment paper.
  2. Assemble each pouch: Place a few spinach leaves in the center of the paper, season lightly with salt and pepper (but go easy—the lemon is salty), add 1 /2 teaspoon of lemon and scatter with 1 /2 teaspoon of butter cut into bits. Arrange 4 scallops over the butter, top with another 1 /2 teaspoon of lemon and 8 tomato halves; season lightly with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of wine and finish with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into bits. Pull up the corners of the parchment to encase the ingredients in a hobo sack and tie it with kitchen twine. Place the pouches on a baking sheet.
  3. Cook the pouches for 8 minutes. Place each pouch in a soup bowl. Untie the packets, being careful of the steam, and serve immediately.

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