This is an unusual and elegant specialty of Trieste, a city located at the mouth of the Gulf of Trieste, on the Adriatic Sea. For the dish, scallops and oysters are blanched and minced, then combined with watercress, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, and melted butter, and finally stuffed into shells and broiled. In Trieste, the mixture is stuffed into scallop shells and served as a main course, as they’re so such larger. Since scallop shells can be hard to find, I use oyster shells, which I think work perfectly well.—Micol Negrin
12 blue point or other large oysters, shucked, shells reserved
12 sea scallops
2 1/2 cups watercress leaves, washed and dried
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and add the oysters and scallops. Cook 1 minute, drain, cool, and mince. Mince 1/2 cup of the watercress and add it to the oysters and scallops in a medium mixing bowl; stir in the onion, parsley, bread crumbs, butter, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch of the pepper. Divide the mixture among the oyster half shells, using the 12 smooth half-shells only. Pile the mixture high and compact it with your hand to ensure that it holds its shape. Place on an 11 X 17-inch baking sheet 10 inches from the heating element and broil in the preheated oven 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned on top.
3. Meanwhile, toss the remaining 2 cups of watercress with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pinch of pepper in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and divide among 2 or 4 plates, depending on whether you are serving the dish as a main course or antipasto. Top the watercress with the oyster half-shells and serve immediately.
Preparation tips: Fill and refrigerate the oyster half-shells on the baking sheet up to 12 hours before broiling.
Recipe © 2002 Micol Negrin. All rights reserved.