Crostacei Fra Diavolo

Submitted by Gordon Vivace

About the cook: A professional chef, but enough about me.

About the dish: A super-spicy mixed shellfish treat. Fra Diavolo is a popular sauce you can use in a lot of ways, but this twist on the sauce and its use is a personal favorite.

National Origin: Italian

Serves: 4

Estimated Time: 30 to 60 Minutes


1 pound dry pack (unsoaked, 8-12 count) sea scallops
1 pound large (8-12 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on for presentation
1 small onion or two large scallions, diced small
2 cups marinara (or crushed tomatoes)
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil


Combine the onion, marinara, garlic, basil, red pepper and black pepper thoroughly. Salt to taste and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Doing this step ahead of time and leaving it in the fridge for a few hours will yield great results, but there’s enough flavor as-is to use it quickly if you don’t have time.

Preheat a frying pan or grill plate large enough to hold the scallops and shrimp to high with the olive oil. If you don’t have a large enough pan, cook the shellfish in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan and returning the pan to high heat with fresh oil between batches.

Coat the shellfish generously in the Fra Diavolo sauce and place them in the pan. When they appear to be cooked about 1/3, turn them and continue cooking until there is just a hint of a translucent line still visible in the center.

Remove each piece as it reaches that point, the shrimp probably cooking faster than the scallops, depending upon the size of each.

The residual heat will finish cooking them through without drying them.

This dish tops polenta, pasta or risotto equally well. It’s listed at 30 to 60 minutes to make sure you’ve got time to make whatever you want it to go with, though you can do this recipe by itself in 20 to 30 minutes.

This image is from one of my book features with a professional photographer as I did not have a home kitchen version on hand. If you can get it to look this pristine, more power to you! You should expect it might be sloppier and not disappointed if it is. Sloppy is delicious too.

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