Perhaps it’s because the combination of flavors in this simple casserole is so classic — just scallops, lemon, butter, vermouth, and Ritz crackers. Taking a bite of baked scallops with Ritz crackers is like going back in time, or hopping a fast boat to some seaside restaurant where a ship’s wheel hangs on the wall and Grapenut pudding is still on the menu. In other words, it’s an old-school pleasure, and we mean that in the best possible way. It’s also purely delicious, and incredibly easy to make.
Here’s how to make homemade baked scallops with Ritz crackers in step-by-step photos. Just want the recipe? Head on over to the Baked Scallops Recipe.
A note on scallops: the best-tasting ones are natural or “dry” scallops, which look like those in the photo below. Many supermarkets sell scallops that come soaked in a bath of sodium tripolyphosphate, which causes them to swell with water, thereby diluting their flavor. You can easily recognize those scallops because of their milky white appearance. Such treated scallops are less expensive per pound (though more profitable for the packer, since you’re paying for more water weight per pound). If you can find natural scallops on sale, you’ll enjoy their superior flavor and texture. But this recipe will work well with either type.
To start, arrange two pounds of scallops in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (our retro enamel pan was a bit smaller, so we used an additional dish for the overflow). Preheat your oven to 325° and set a rack to the second-from-the-top position.
In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers (or similar), and 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle this over the scallops. Next, sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
Sprinkle all over with butter, lemon, and vermouth, cover with foil, then transfer to the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. At this point, the scallops will be cooked through, but if you’d like to brown the top a bit more, turn your oven to the “broil” setting and let the top sizzle for a minute or two (do not move the pan closer to the flame), keeping a close eye on the pan the entire time.
Serve the baked scallops hot, sprinkled with fresh herbs like chopped chives or parsley, if you like, and garnished with a bit of lemon.
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.