These Scallop Crêpes are very near and dear to my heart. A lifetime of memories lives in this dish. This is the recipe my mom makes every year for Christmas Eve. I have no idea when or how this tradition started but I do know we’ve done it my whole life. Sure, there were a few years when these crêpes didn’t happen. Less-than-ideal holiday circumstances made the thought of frying up a stack of crêpes feel like a bridge too far. But every year that we could, we made crêpes. And I’m so excited to let you in on this little family tradition. So let’s dive right in!
When I was growing up, my siblings and I weren’t always close. We had a bit of an age gap and wildly different personalities and we were young, hormonal, and stubborn. You know, run-of-the-mill brat kids. But the one place we always got along was in the kitchen. And during the holidays that’s where we all were.
These Scallop Crêpes are special not just because they are exceptionally delicious. They are special, at least to me, because they hold my most precious memories. My calmest, happiest childhood moments. My sister and I, making crêpe after crêpe always striving to achieve the perfect swirl of the pan for that perfect crêpe. Music blasting, snacks flowing. We would make the crêpes the day before Christmas Eve and that would always build anticipation. We’d put on an endless list of Christmas movies and make a huge stack of crêpes. We, of course, always snuck one and stuffed it with a Lindor Truffle. Pro move, by the way.
While these Scallop Crêpes sound and look fancy, this meal isn’t that tricky to pull off. Particularly when you make the crêpes a day in advance. Everything kicks off with some flour and salt in a bowl. Once you give it a good whisk, form a well in the center and add some eggs, milk, butter, and water. It should look like soupy pancake batter. Crêpe batter needs to chill for 1 hour, so this is a good time to fill your nog quota. Once the batter is ready, it’s time to join the assembly line. Making crêpes is time-consuming and it can be tricky. You will likely make a few, um, different-looking crêpes at the beginning but hit your stride after two or three.
Remember when making crêpes to pour in the batter and immediately start swilling the pan to coat. If you wait too long the batter will set before you have much of a chance to do anything. Keep the finished crêpes separated by sheets of parchment paper. They will stick together if you stack them directly on top of each other. That’s a hard-learned lesson.
Once your crêpes are fried, the hard part is over. Yes, the scallop portion isn’t scary. It’s pretty straightforward. The first thing you do is pat some large scallops dry with a paper towel. I usually leave them to drain on the paper towel while I prepare the rest of the dish. We want the scallops to be as dry as possible. That’s how we will get a good sear.
While the scallops are drying, we can make the sauce. And the sauce is a béchamel. Honestly, if you took a drink every time I mention béchamel sauce on this blog you would be blackout drunk. But if you’ve never been here before, a béchamel is a cream sauce comprised of butter, flour, and milk. Basically, you form a roux with the butter and flour and whisk in the milk to make a creamy luscious sauce.
When the sauce is done, stir a bag of drained bay scallops. Bay scallops are a lot cheaper than colossal scallops and a lot smaller. They taste great, they just overcook very quickly so it pays to be gentle. Only add them to the sauce at the end and simmer them for roughly five minutes. Any longer and they will take on the texture of rubber bullets. Once the sauce is done it’s time to sear those bone-dry scallops and we do that by heating some neutral oil in a skillet until smoking. We want the pan to be exceptionally hot, like smoking hot. Add the scallops and sear them on both sides until a deep crust forms. We want this to happen quickly, so we don’t overcook the scallops before they get their sear-on.
Now, this portion of the recipe is not traditional, so feel free to skip it if you’re not feeling it. Add butter, thinly sliced garlic, and ribbons of preserved butter to the skillet and tilt the pan. Spoon the butter and aromatics over the scallops. This is the kind of treatment you would give a ribeye. And these beautiful scallops deserve the same executive treatment. But again, this is a flourish. You could skip the butter basting and still have a five-star meal.
From here it’s as simple as stuffing and folding the crêpes and topping them with the seared scallops. And that’s everything you need to know about these Scallop Crêpes. This is without a doubt the most iconic dish from my childhood, so I hope you love it as much as I do.
Scallop Crêpes with Garlic Chips and Preserved Lemon
- 1 crêpe pan
- 2 large skillets
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk I used 2%
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- ¾ cup water
Scallop Cream Sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup dry vermouth**
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 ½ cups milk I used 2%
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 400g (14oz) bay scallops drained
- 12 large sea scallops
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic sliced thinly
- 1 preserved lemon rind sliced thinly
For the Crepes
- Place the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, milk, butter, and water to the center of the well. Whisk until a thin batter forms. Transfer the batter to the fridge and chill for 1 hour.1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ tsp salt, 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, ¾ cup water
- Heat a little butter in a crêpe pan over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, pour roughly 1/3 of a cup of the crêpe batter into the skillet and rotate the pan, so the batter coats the bottom evenly. Wait for the surface to bubble slightly and flip the crêpe and fry until golden on both sides.
- Transfer the finished crêpe to a plate lined with parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and repeat with the remaining crêpe batter. *** Proceed with the recipe or cover the crêpes and store them in the fridge overnight.
For the Cream Sauce
- Melt the butter in a large skillet until foamy. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the vermouth.2 tbsp butter, 1 clove garlic, ¼ cup dry vermouth**
- Whisk in the flour to form a roux. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in the milk to form a silky sauce. Whisk in the mustard, salt, and nutmeg. Let simmer for five minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly.2 tbsp flour, 1 ½ cups milk, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, Pinch of nutmeg
- Add the scallops and stir to combine. Simmer until the scallops are cooked through. About 5 minutes. Cover and take the sauce off of the heat.400g (14oz) bay scallops
For the Seared Scallops
- Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. ****12 large sea scallops
- Heat the oil in a large skillet until smoking. Add the scallops to the pan and sear until a golden crust forms. About 2 minutes. Flip the scallops and sear for a minute or two more.2 tbsp neutral oil
- Working quickly, add the butter, garlic, and preserved lemon to the pan and tilt the skillet towards you and spoon the butter over the scallops. Transfer the scallops to a plate and pour the butter, preserved lemon, and garlic chips over top.1 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 clove garlic, 1 preserved lemon
- Take a crêpe and spoon some cream sauce in the center. Fold the crêpe around the sauce. Repeat until you have 2-3 crêpes on every plate. Spoon a little extra cream sauce on top of the crêpes and garnish with the seared scallops, garlic chips, and preserved lemon. Serve immediately.