Zamburinas Tapas: Galician Scallops

Zamburinas Tapas: Galician ScallopsThese tapas are beautiful and really quite easy to make. And they come out looking so fancy! If you don’t have the shells from your scallops, that is okay. You can always just bake them in a ramekin. You can also easily use any other large shells you may have around for decorative purposes, just make sure they are real shells. (Don’t bake in plastic.)

A suggestion about wines for this dish:

For Cooking this dish traditionally uses white wine. I used a cheap sauvgnin blanc and the sweetness played really nicely with the tomatoes, and scallops. Another suggestion might be to use a moscato, or even a sherry, ignoring the fact that it is a red wine.

If you are not inclined to purchase ‘real’ wine you can always substitute a simple white cooking wine from your grocery store.

As for pairing, I happened to be drinking a dark red blend when I enjoyed these tapas as a dinner meal. The combination of the sweet sauce and scallops went quite nicely with the drier red wine I was sipping. Just a suggestion. You can always do as you please.

As for the tradition of this dish, obviously it is known for coming from the Galician region of Spain. Directly above Portugal, the north shore of this Autonomous Community, (kind of like a state,) serves as part of the land forming the Bay of Biscay, while the Atlantic Ocean breaks on it’s west coast. You can imagine then why the area would be known for their seafood dishes.

With it’s own language, (not unlike the other parts of Spain,) Galicia stands alone for many reasons. Their Celtic decent and German influences are easily seen in the fair skin and typical blue or green eyes of the locals. They are also far enough north to have had little influence from the Moorish conquests of the past. Galicia is quite mountainous and known as “the country of the thousand rivers.” It’s grasses, however, are green all year round, making them perfect for grazing animals.

When it comes to cuisine, the Galicians have a long standing traditional fishing industry, with shellfish and octopus showing up in many regional dishes. They have their own local cheese, queixo de tetilla, and even produce their own Galician wines, ribeiro and albariño. Like everywhere else in the world, potatoes, wheat, and maize are common staples, and their dairy and meat comes from cows, sheep, and pigs. Oh! Don’t forget their rum, orujo!

Zamburinas Tapas; Galician Scallops

A clever eye may notice that I used a clam shell for this scallop. It was all I had available, but worked like a charm!

With warm sunny weather, life giving rains, and fantastic foods, Galicia sure seems like a good place to visit! However, you don’t need a plane ticket in order to bring a little bit of it home by making this dish right in your own kitchen.

Zamburinas Tapas: Galician Scallops

By: semiserious chefs
Serves: 4-8 tapas; 16 scallops total


  • 16 cleaned scallops (about 1 pound)
  • 1 yellow onion; diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine (See notes above)
  • 1 ounce Orujo or other brandy
  • 3 t sweet paprika
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes; chopped and crushed
  • bread crumbs
  • dried parsley


  1. Dice the onion and garlic and saute for a 2 minutes in olive oil.
  2. Add the wine, orujo, paprika, cinnamon, crushed tomatoes, and scallops and let simmer for 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  3. Move the scallops and tomato sauce to a baking dish; either individual ramekins, as a group, or back into the scallop shells. Top with enough bread crumbs to cover, but not to create a thick layer, and sprinkle with parsley.
  4. Bake on top wrack of preheated oven at 400°F for 15 minutes, until breading is golden and crispy.

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