Although it is best to use scallops in the shell for this simple appetizer (Maximin prefers a smallish Mediterranean variety called pétoncles provençals), it can also be made with shelled bay scallops and presented in separately purchased shells.
2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
8 tbsp. butter, slightly softened
2 shallots, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp. cognac
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
30 bay scallops in shell
2 tbsp. freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1. Rinse mushrooms, then place in a medium bowl. Add very hot water to cover, top with a plate, and set aside to soften for about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse, then finely chop mushrooms.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add cognac and simmer until almost completely evaporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Place remaining butter in a medium bowl. Add parsley and mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
4. Preheat broiler. Using a paring knife, gently pry open scallops, running knife through scallop muscle to separate it from shell. Remove and discard dark stomach. Using your fingers, pull away and discard small muscle, which wraps partially around scallop. Set scallops aside. Thoroughly wash and dry half the shells. (Remaining shells can be cleaned and stored for future use).
5. Place scallop shells in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Top each shell with a scallop and about 1 tbsp. of mushroom butter. Sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano and broil until cheese is golden, 1–2 minutes. Serve warm. (Shells can be washed and reused).