Foil-Packet Scallops With Caper-Raisin Butter

February 19, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Over the years, my "TV dinners" have evolved and gained new meaning as I've grown more comfortable in the kitchen. Now they're simple, nutritious, premade dinners that are waiting for me in the freezer or fridge: say, a sheet-pan of spiced chicken thighs, a breaded and ready-to-fry cube steak, or a foil packet of sweet, plump scallops and rainbow chard. Premade means something different for everyone; for me, it means doing 90% of the work in advance, and leaving 10% (the cooking) to the very end. Not that the 90% here is very hard. You're just filling a large sheet of aluminum foil with a protein and a vegetable (in this case, the scallops and chard), sealing it, and saving it in the fridge to be baked off later in the week when you need a 15-minute meal in a flash.

The true star here is the caper-raisin butter that runs through the entire foil packet. I first read about this golden elixir in Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupack and Jordana Rothman, who got it from Jean-Georges Vongerichten. "This scallop preparation helped make JGV's flagship restaurant a sensation when it opened in 1997," they write in the recipe's headnote. I thought it was the strangest combination of ingredients and had to try it for myself. Now I keep a jar of the stuff in my fridge most weeks of the year. It tastes great with pasta, roasted cauliflower, raw bitter vegetables, and of course, scallops.
Eric Kim

Food52 Review: Featured in: Foil-Packet Scallops Are the Perfect ‘TV Dinner’ for One.The Editors

Serves: 1
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min


Foil-packet scallops

  • 3 cups rainbow chard, rolled like a cigar and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces scallops (usually about 4 fat ones)
  • 1 tablespoon caper-raisin butter, recipe follows
  • White rice, for serving (optional)

Caper-raisin butter

  • 2 tablespoons non-pareil capers
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In This Recipe


Foil-packet scallops

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place rainbow chard in the center of a large rectangular sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle over olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Top the chard with scallops. Smear the caper-raisin butter over each scallop, then season with more salt and pepper.
  4. Fold over each side of the aluminum foil until you have an enclosed square packet. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the scallops are just cooked through.
  5. Serve with optional white rice and an ice-cold beer.

Caper-raisin butter

  1. Boil the capers, raisins, and water together for about 10 minutes, until the raisins have plumped up and water has reduced significantly.
  2. Puree in a food processor with the butter, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Store in a jar or container with a tightly fitted lid, refrigerated, for up to a week. Tastes great with scallops, pasta, roasted cauliflower, and raw bitter vegetables.

More Great Recipes:
American|Scallop|Seafood|Weeknight Cooking|Dinner|Entree

Reviews (11) Questions (0)

11 Reviews

Anita February 26, 2019
I literally scream with delight anytime I see a recipe or article from you, Eric Kim! Your writing and food bring me so much joy! Can't wait to make this :)
Author Comment
Eric K. March 5, 2019
Robin February 26, 2019
Shouldn't the foil be lined with parchment to avoid leaching from the aluminum?
Ttrockwood February 26, 2019
For the caper raisin butter after step #1 you drain off remaining water before blending? Or just add everything to the blender..? I want to make it with my vegan miyokos butter since dairy butter hates me
Author Comment
Eric K. February 26, 2019
Nope, it all goes in! :) Just make sure you've reduced the water quite a bit during the boiling process.
Mark W. February 25, 2019
Did you sear the scallops at all before placing in foil?
Teresa A. February 25, 2019
What can I substitute for malt vinegar in this recipe? Thanks!
Author Comment
Eric K. February 25, 2019
Any vinegar you’d like! Red wine, white wine, sherry are all good.
Lynn D. February 23, 2019
That butter is good!
Seán T. February 24, 2019
Sounds delicious. Can it be made without a food processor? I only have a blender/nutri-bullet.
Author Comment
Eric K. February 25, 2019
Hey Sean, a NutriBullet would work just fine.