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Round and meaty scallops are ideally shaped for threading on skewers but are often overlooked in favor of chicken or shrimp for kabobs. Making scallop kabobs a staple of your grilling repertoire offers many advantages. Scallops are a good source of protein and are low in fat and calories. The mild flavor is adaptable to a variety of cooking styles, from Asian to Mediterranean. Scallops cook quickly on a grill and are a good choice when you're in a hurry or feeding a crowd.
Poking a skewer through kabobs is simple, but a few techniques make cooking them even simpler. If your scallops are big enough, use two skewers for each kabob for easier turning to ensure even cooking. Depending on skewer and grill size, you can place them directly on the grill or use a grilling basket made of wire mesh or a metal grilling plate with holes in it so they don't fall through onto the coals. If you use wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes prior to assembly so they don't catch fire. Cook kabobs on medium to medium-high heat for around 10 minutes, turning a few times until scallops are opaque.
You can marinate your scallops prior to assembling your kabobs or brush them with a marinade just before cooking, depending on the intensity of flavor you want. Try a low-sodium soy sauce or light teriyaki sauce for Asian flavor. A citrus marinade, such as fresh squeezed orange juice or lime juice, adds a tangy, fresh flavor. If you're short on time, use a bottled Italian vinaigrette. Alternatively, try a dry rub to seal in juices, such as a Jamaican rub or curry spices.
Kabobs are usually made with meat and chunks of various vegetables. You're limited only by your imagination when it comes to vegetables to accompany scallop kabobs. Try grape tomatoes and summer squash for light fare. Scallops grill quickly enough that citrus fruits are a good and unusual pairing. Alternate scallops with quarters of a small orange or a lemon, or with chunks of pineapple. For another protein source, use large prawns alternately with scallops. You can wrap scallops with very thin slices of prosciutto, but use as little as possible to keep the sodium and fat content down.
By themselves, scallops offer so much nutrition that the less you add to them when grilling, the better. A 3.5-oz. serving contains 88 calories, 16.78 g of protein and less than a gram of fat. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. A light brushing of a heart-healthy oil, such as olive oil, and sprinkling fresh or dried herbs may be all you need, particularly if you are watching your caloric intake. The National Marine Fisheries Service notes that scallops are a good source of selenium and B vitamins. Adding fresh vegetables to your scallop kabobs provides even more essential nutrients to your meal.
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