Yesterday was the first day of summer. To me, that means grilling. And margaritas. And sand between my toes. And sunburns. So far I have accomplished the first three of these. And I'll hold out as long as possible on the fourth.
The simplicity of a grilled scallop is what makes it so delicious. A scallop really needs nothing more than salt, pepper and a little olive oil. The bacon? That just makes it fantastic. Of course, you have to pre-cook the bacon, which takes a little longer and keeps you indoors for a few minutes, but I think you and I can both handle that.
Scallops are also some of the fastest protein you can grill. They need really less than 5 minutes on a hot grill (2.5 minutes on each side).
So here's my method. It involves having a margarita in one hand while you do it. And a walk on the beach afterward is highly recommended.
Prepare 1 piece of bacon for every 3 - 4 scallops you plan on serving. You can fit about 2 slices of bacon weaved between up to 6 scallops on one skewer. Fry the bacon in a pan until about 90% cooked, then remove to a towel-lined plate to absorb some of the fat. Use metal skewers if you have them for this recipe, as wooden skewers will require soaking in advance and, I find, can leave little splinters in your soft scallops.
Weave the bacon in between the whole scallops on your skewer, criss-crossing around each piece. Brush the entire skewer with olive oil and dust with salt and a little pepper.
To grill, put these skewers on absolutely last before serving (unless you're doing other quick seafood, like shrimp) and for about 2 - 3 minutes per side, over medium heat. The edges of the bacon will crisp up a little while the scallops cook through.
How to know if a scallop is cooked through?
The key thing to note with scallops is that they are still very soft or "raw" feeling when they are fully cooked. Don't expect hard, solid feeling meat, like chicken breast. If your scallops are even slightly hard to the touch, they're overcooked. Less is more. Because, remember, they will continue cooking slightly when removed from the heat.
Just get some nice grill marks and cook until they plump up a little. If you're still unsure of doneness, test one by cutting it in half. If the center of the scallop is opaque, you're golden. If it's still very translucent, give it another minute or so. But not more than that.