Oven baked scallops on the shell – memories of Cinque Terre

It is still winter in Melbourne however the days are starting to be a bit sunnier, warmer and it feels like spring is in the air. I start thinking about summer, travelling, the beach and eating seafood. One of the best places to eat seafood and enjoy the sun is the Cinque Terre (the five lands/villages) on the Mediterranean Sea in Liguria.

monterosso cliffs at dusksunset at Monterosso nuova citta'

I have been to the Cinque Terre several times, always staying in the largest town, Monterosso, and using it as a starting point for the coastal walk that takes you to all five villages. What wonderful memories I have of it! One of the best parts of the walk, apart from the breath-taking views, is after an hour or so into the walk from Monterosso, when you first spot the most picturesque of the villages, Vernazza.

veduta di vernazzafishing in Monterosso
There were terrible floods in the Cinque Terre last year, that resulted in the path as well as parts of the villages being destroyed. A few websites are dedicated to saving/rebuilding these precious villages and the countryside around them – Save Vernazza and Rebuild Monterosso. Lucky for us there are incredible people such as these contributing to the preservation of these wonders. The villages and paths are open to the public once again – fish are being caught and the wonderful restaurants and cafes are back in business!

vernazza muro rosaristorante cecio cornigliatrattoria il barettopizza a taglio

I distinctly remember eating delicious scallops once in Monterosso – I always order them if I see them in a restaurant if they are on the menu. And if I see them fresh at the local fish market, I always buy them – they make the quickest and tastiest of meals at home.They take no more than 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook. These tender garlicky morsels are delicious served with crusty bread to mop up the sauce that is caught by the beautiful fan-shaped shell. They remind me of being in Italy, in the sun, looking out at the sea. Ahh la Bella Italia – I will see you in September!

scallops on the shell-italy on my mind

Capesante al forno (oven-baked scallops)


12 scallops on the shell
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
50g butter
zest of one lemon
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees (alternatively place under a medium hot grill). Wash the scallops and shells and pat dry. In a bowl, mix the garlic, parsley, melted butter and breadcrumbs. Distribute mixture evenly on the scallops. Place them on an oven tray, making sure the shells are stable. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes (grilling might take a bit less) until just firm and the tops look golden. Scatter on some sea salt and the lemon zest just before serving.

scallops on the shell - italy on my mind

17 comments on “Oven baked scallops on the shell – memories of Cinque Terre

  1. My fiance and I visited the Cinque Terre for the first time in late March this year. It was cold and dripping wet and yet still stunningly beautiful and the FOOD. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. I’ll be sending a link to this post to my fiance so he can share the reminiscing!

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    • Thank you Adri, it is a magical place that everyone who is remotely interested in Italy, the sun and the sea should visit. Make sure you take a good camera for potos and a big appetite for the delicious food!

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  2. What lovely memories you have! Cinque Terre seems to be very beautiful & what glorious views!!!! Waw! I love bakes scallops & your recipe is simple yet divine in flavour! MMMMMMM! ☺

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  3. I enjoyed your lovely photos and recipes. When I was in Monterosso, I had a broken foot and on crutches so I didn’t get to see the wonderful sights. I did get to enjoy the wonderful seafood…so fresh and good like your scallops.

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    • Oh how terrible about being on crutches! I have two friends who actually fell whilst walking at Cinque Terre –
      Both due to the breath-taking views and not being careful enough. Easy to do – such an amazing place. Thanks so much for commenting and for your appreciation of the scallops. I hope you get back to Cinque Terre some time and do that walk

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  4. Oh God! 5Terre is the most amazing and wonderful places I`ve ever visited in my life. I can`t stop going there season by season, I`ve been in 5Terre 6 times already and can`t get enough! Really. Awesome land, pleasant people, breath-taking views, great atmosphere. And cuisine…my favorites – fried zucchini flowers and great brioches con crema di latte in the mornings))

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    • 6 visits to 5Terre? I am impressed. Do you do the walks each time? One of my favorite places is the 60s looking hotel on the east of Monterosso – cab’t think of its name- I imagine going there is a long 60s dress and drinking cocktails. All of Liguria is gorgeous – mountains plus the sea – it has everything!

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