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Shuck scallops, keeping bottom shells and discarding top shells. Remove the beard and dirt sack from each scallop, but leave the muscle and roe intact. Fill a pot with salted water, add scallops, and allow to rinse for five minutes.
Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add tomatoes and blanch for 10 seconds, then plunge into the ice bath. Peel and seed the tomatoes, then dice the flesh.
In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add tomatoes and lemon zest, then reduce the heat to low and cook until tomato water has evaporated – about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, add capers, parsley, and sugar, and season with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add bread crumbs and cook for one minute, or until golden brown. Add thyme leaves and mix well to combine.
Turn the broiler on. Place scallop shells on a baking sheet, then onto each scallop shell spoon 1 tsp of the tomato-lemon compote. Top with a scallop, then sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Broil for three to four minutes, until bread crumbs are golden and the scallops are cooked.
To serve: Divide the scallops evenly among four plates.