Capesante gratinate – Scallop gratin

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This scallop gratin recipe hails from Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia, but is now popular all over Italy. The scallops are baked in their shells in a simple combination of butter, parsley, onion and breadcrumbs, making this an effortlessly simple starter for any Italian feast.

First published in 2018

This recipe calls for fresh scallops, which in Friuli are fished directly from the Adriatic Sea. A simple recipe which is now found all over Italy, capesante graten (called capesante gratinate in standard Italian) originated in Trieste, where some of the best scallops in Europe are found.

You can ask your local fishmonger to open and clean the scallops and give you the shells. If you can’t find the shells, you can place the scallops in a lightly oiled ovenproof dish. Either way, they are delicious.




  • 12 scallops, removed from their shells and cleaned (shells cleaned and reserved)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 100g of butter, softened
  • 100g of fine breadcrumbs
  • salt


Preheat an oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place the scallops back in their cleaned shells
Finely chop the onion and parsley. Place in a bowl and mix them together with the softened butter to form a paste
Season each scallop with salt, and then place a spoonful of the parsley butter on top
Cover each scallop with breadcrumbs and cook in the oven for 8 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Luca Marchiori is a food writer, recipe developer and food historian. His blog Luca’s Italy is all about discovering authentic Italian food and sharing the recipes that Italians really eat.

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