Vietnamese Scallops on the Half Shell

A show stopping preparation that takes advantage of the unique size and shape of Vertical Bay scallop shells, this traditional dipping sauce hits all the flavor notes of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. While we love the original recipe, feel free to experiment with alternative seasonings and presentations! If you can’t find the miniature cucumbers you can use an English cucumber; slice it thinly and cut each slice into four quarters. Serves 5-10.

Tip: To make a sturdy base for your scallop shells combine 1 egg white and 1 cup of kosher salt in a small bowl. Add a scoop of prepared salt under each shell to hold them in place. Do not eat the salt!

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 0 minutes

  • Ingredients

    1 lb Vertical Bay shucked scallops (2-4 per person)
    5-10 Vertical Bay scallop shells
    Quick Pickled Shallots:
    - 1 small shallot sliced into thin rings
    - 1 tbsp lime juice
    - ½ tsp kosher salt
    Nuoc Cham Sauce
    Juice and zest from 1 lime
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp maple syrup (can substitute light brown or palm sugar)
    2 Thai Bird’s eye chilis, thinly sliced
    1 tbsp water

    - 2 mini cucumbers, very thinly sliced
    - Cilantro leaves, about 20
    - Juice of 1 Kumquat or Mandarinquat (optional)

  • Instructions

    1. Make the quick pickled shallots by combining in a small bowl the thinly sliced shallots, lime juice, and salt. Stir well and set aside to pickle while you prep the rest of the elements.
    2. Make the Nuoc Cham by combining all ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well to combine. Taste dressing and adjust seasonings to suit your preferences.
    3. Prep garnishes by thinly slicing mini cucumbers. Cover with a wet paper towel until ready to use. Pick cilantro leaves from their stems. Halve the kumquat – you will be using the juice only.
    4. Prepare a serving tray over ice with five scallop shells or small plates. Slice each scallop horizontally into three pieces. Arrange in a fan shape on the scallop shell, slide in a few pickled shallots, cucumbers, and cilantro leaves in between and under the scallop slices. Add in a teaspoon of Nuoc Cham sauce, being sure to include a few chili slices in each serving. Squeeze a few drops of kumquat juice on each. Enjoy immediately!