Recipes Main Courses Seafood Five-Spice Grilled Scallops

Five-Spice Grilled Scallops

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

If the scallops you purchase are more than 1 1/2 inches thick, cut them in half horizontally before you thread them onto skewers so they will cook more quickly and evenly.


  • 1 lb. sea scallops, side muscles removed
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 1 lb. baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil


Soak the skewers and prepare the grill
Soak 4 wooden skewers in water until needed, up to 30 minutes. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. If using a gas grill, leave one burner on high and turn the other burners off. If using a charcoal grill, bank the coals on one side of the grill. Alternatively, preheat a broiler.

Season the scallops and bok choy
Place the scallops on a plate. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, five-spice powder, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the scallops. Drizzle the scallops with 1 tsp. of the canola oil. Place the bok choy on another plate, brush with the remaining 2 tsp. canola oil and season lightly with salt.

Grill the bok choy and scallops
Thread the scallops onto the skewers. Place the bok choy, cut side down, over the hottest part of the grill and cook until marked with grill marks, about 2 minutes. Turn the bok choy, move to the cooler part of the grill and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more.

Place the scallop skewers on the hottest part of the grill until the scallops are marked with grill marks, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until the scallops are heated through but still slightly translucent in the center, 1 to 2 minutes more. Or, arrange the bok choy on a rimmed baking sheet, place under the broiler and cook, turning once, using the same timing. Repeat with the skewers, using the same timing. Transfer the skewers and bok choy to a platter, drizzle the bok choy with the sesame oil and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).