Conchitas a la parmesana, savoring the sea


We are boiling in the States, but in South America it´s wintertime. I was in Lima for my son´s wedding 2 weeks ago and was hoping to find the grey and cold Lima sky that I missed so much, but to everyone´s surprise, it was still sunny and warm. I can´t deny I was a bit disappointed, but the unlikely weather was perfect to go eat some fresh seafood, and I made the most of it.

On my first day in Lima, my son, Eduardo, and his then still fiancée, Antonella, invited me to have lunch in a very nice restaurant, La Bombonniere, where I had a delicious plate full of Conchitas a la Parmesana. They are bay scallops with Parmesan cheese, that go for a few minutes under the broiler so the cheese is bubbling and golden, but the scallops remain almost raw. Absolutely mouth-watering.

I had been craving the juicy and briny dish since I started planning my trip to Peru, so as soon as I got to Lima I had to enjoy it one more time. It´s a delicious light lunch, and always fun to eat straight from the shell of the scallops. When my children were little they were very fond of this appetizer, but only had the melted cheese! Then they gave the scallops to their father, who was more than happy to gobble up the morsels of sweet and barely cooked seafood.

The secret for a successful dish of Conchitas is, as I tell you often, to use the freshest ingredients -scallops, in this case- straight from the market. Avoid the frozen stuff like the devil. They need to be cleaned very well, seasoned with a light hand, covered with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and ran under the broiler just until the cheese is melted. If kept any longer under the heat, the scallops become rubbery and almost inedible. That is not what we want. The scallops should remain almost raw, preserving their incredible freshness and softness. That is why the quality of the products you use is key.

I think I will be having this more often now that I´m back in Virginia. Scallops here are very meaty and tasty too, although much bigger, and definitely much more expensive than in Peru. And all this talk makes me think of another dish that I love: rice with scallops. I think I´ll have that for lunch tomorrow. I will try to take some pictures and share the recipe. Can´t wait!

Conchitas a la parmesana
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 12 bay scallops in the half shell
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 drops lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 12 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. *Preheat the broiler.
  2. *Clean and wash the scallops in the half shell, dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. *Put them in a tin and season each one with a drop of Worcestershire sauce and one drop of lime juice. Cover with one tablespoon grated cheese and ¼ teaspoon butter.
  4. *Run under the broiler for a few minutes (about 4) or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.
  5. *Serve immediately, piping hot, with lime slices on the side.

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