Bay Scallop Tacos.
Seared Cape bay scallops sit atop flour tortillas with roasted butternut squash, crispy kale, queso fresco, bacon and fresh parsley. These tacos are fall-inspired with the perfect combination of savory, saltiness and sweet.
When are Cape bay scallops in season?
One of the best things about the cold weather season here on the Cape is that it’s bay scallop season. These little scallops are in season late October/November-ish through late February or early March, depending on the weather. They are pricey – we’re talking about $39.99 a pound, but they are well worth the spend on occasion. We get them at our local fish market, The Clam Man. They’re sweet, delicate and truly taste like sea candy. These scallops top my list of favorite seafood items.
Have you tried them?
PRO tip: Don’t confuse these bay scallops with imported bay scallops – they are completely different and often the imported variety is sitting in a chemical that causes the scallops to appear whiter, plumper and stay “fresher” — those scallops are often labeled wet pack. The scallops you want are dry-packed meaning nothing is added to them. You want to buy the freshest bay scallops you can possibly get your hands on. The bay scallops should smell sweet with a hint of the sea.
These Cape Bay Scallop Tacos are an incredibly delicious way to celebrate bay scallop season. You can serve them as tacos, like we did here, or skip the tacos and serve them in a bowl, perhaps over brown rice.
This is an easy dish to pull together, there are just a few steps – cooking the bacon, roasting the butternut squash and kale, then searing the scallops. The step that takes the longest is roasting the butternut squash, but you can do this ahead of time day-of, or even the day before you make this dish. Just reheat the squash in the oven, sauté pan or microwave before serving. If you have the butternut squash ready to go, the rest of the meal can easily be made in 10-15 minutes (the scallops and kale take no time to cook).
Don’t overcook the scallops!
These little bay scallops cook in mere seconds, so don’t leave their side. You do not want to overcook them. Honestly, one of my favorite things about these little bay scallops is that they take no time to cook and they need very little seasoning – their sweet and clean taste is perfect as is. A dash of kosher salt and pepper – that’s it.
Once you sear the scallops, serve the the tacos right away. Assemble all the other elements of the tacos that you can and serve the scallops onto the tacos hot off the pan. This combination of sweet and earthy butternut squash, crispy kale and salty bacon pairs perfectly with those sweet, tender scallops.
These bay scallops are not alone a treat for adults, they are also great for kiddos, because they are bite-sized.
Are these scallop tacos healthy?
Yes! There are many nutrition highlights to this dish:
- Scallops are rich in protein, phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B 12 and choline, among other vitamins and minerals
- Butternut squash is rich in Vitamins A and C, both important for the health of your immune system (essential during cold and flu season!), fiber, magnesium and potassium
- Kale is rich in Vitamins A, C and K, fiber, potassium and calcium
But what about the bacon – how can something with bacon be healthy? You’re using just a small amount of bacon and a little bit goes a long way. You can easily omit the bacon – or sub in toasted and salted pumpkin seeds.
Here’s how to make these fall-inspired Bay Scallop Tacos:
Bay Scallop Tacos
- 1 butternut squash peeled, cubed (or use pre-cubed squash)
- 10 ounce bag chopped kale toughs stems removed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/2 pound bay scallops fresh, rinsed and dried, side muscle removed
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- Flour tortillas warmed
- 2-3 ounces queso fresco cheese crumbled
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley roughly chopped
- Lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil. Toss butternut squash with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper and place onto baking sheets.
- Roast squash for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned and caramelized, flipping halfway through cooking time. Place butternut squash in a bowl and set aside.
- Place the chopped kale onto the foiled-lined baking sheets (the same ones you used to roast the squash). Drizzle with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Add scallops to the hot pan and reduce heat to medium. Sauté about 1 minute until a nice sear forms, then flip and sauté until desired doneness (we like ours with just a brief sear). Don't crowd the scallops, as you don’t want to steam them. Cook in batches, if needed.
- Assemble tacos by adding kale and butternut squash to warmed flour tortillas. Top with a few bay scallops, queso fresco, bacon and parsley.
- Serve tacos with lemon wedges.
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