This Bay Scallop Udon Soup with Crispy Shallots is such an easy and wholesome seafood meal to whip up on a weeknight! Simmer the simple gingery broth while you crisp up the shallots, then cook the scallops in the shallot oil, which infuses them with some more of the shallot’s flavors. The whole thing comes together in about half an hour, but it feels like such a special meal.
Bay scallops are a very economical option, packed with all the flavor of large sea scallops, but much cheaper per pound. I typically pay about $5 for an 8 oz pack of bay scallops at my local Japanese market, but you can find them at most large US grocery stores as well. Because these are so affordable, I can make this recipe for about $8 per batch, or $4 per bowl, but it feels like much more of a splurge.
Key Tips – Bay Scallop Udon
Bay scallops and sea scallops are not the same, but you can substitute them!
- This recipe calls for bay scallops, which are small scallops, about the size of a dime. Sea scallops are much larger, and typically quite a bit more expensive. You can absolutely sub sea scallops in this recipe if desired, but you’ll need to increase the cook time to 2-3 minutes per side.
- I typically pay $5 for 8 oz of sea scallops, making this recipe very affordable for a seafood dish!
You can find udon noodles at most Asian grocery stores, and many well stocked American grocery stores.
- Udon noodles are a lot easier to find than they used to be, and you may be able to purchase them at a standard large chain grocery store in the US. They are typically the most affordable at Asian markets, and I usually pay about $1 – $1.50 per 7 oz pack.
- The flavor doesn’t matter since you will discard the seasoning package!
Cook the crispy shallots low and slow.
- The key to getting crispy shallots that aren’t burn is to cook them low and slow in the oil. This will allow the water to release out of the shallots as they cook. If the shallots are cooked in very hot oil they won’t release as much water by the time they are ready to be pulled out, so they don’t get quite as crispy.
- I love the richness that these oily crispy shallots add to the dish. Since the rest of this dish isn’t very rich, I feel like these really add a lot and are needed to round out the bowl, so I wouldn’t recommend skipping them!
Dietary Restrictions – Bay Scallop Udon
This dish is naturally Dairy-Free!
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. I serve this recipe as two large dinner portions, pictured in the bowl is one serving.
Bay Scallop Udon Soup with Crispy Shallots
- Peel the shallot and slice into thin slices, creating small rings. Separate the rings with your hands after slicing.
- Rinse the scallops, then thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and a little bit of black pepper.
- In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes. [The low heat is key to getting good crispy shallots, this allows for more time for the water to evaporate out of the shallots before they finish cooking. If cooked over a higher heat, they will not get crispy]
- Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the soup in a medium pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- When the shallots are ready, move them to a paper towel lined plate, leaving as much oil as possible behind in the skillet. [Note, the shallots will crisp up more as they cool.] Raise the heat of the skillet to medium-high.
- Once the skillet is at medium-high heat, add the scallops and toss them until they're coated in oil. Let the scallops cook for about 1 minute undisturbed, then toss and cook for another minute. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. [Note, the scallops will release a lot of steam when added to the pan.]
- Raise the heat on the soup slightly and add the udon. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until the noodles are separated, then transfer them into the serving bowls.
- Divide the soup between the serving bowls, then top with the scallops, fried shallots, green onion, and baby bok choy.
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