Did you know that scallops are high in protein, with zero carbs, and can help you lose weight? These bite-sized morsels of seafood are delicious, cook up fast, and make a great starter or entree, any day of the week.
You’re only minutes away from a tasty and nutritious meal if you choose to cook scallops. But what are scallops, anyway, and how do you make them just right? Here’s the lowdown on how to cook scallops. You don’t need a cooking show to whip up the tastiest scallops.
What Are Scallops?
Scallops are a type of shellfish, related to oysters and clams, and live in a closed shell. They’re whitish pink (think chicken breast), plump and round in shape, and can vary in size depending on where they’re from. They have a mildly sweet, almost nutty flavor.
Bay scallops live – you guessed it – in bays. These shallow-water dwellers are easier to catch but are also smaller than sea scallops. Their flavor is more sweet and very tender, though, so if you’re up for a bit more preparation, bay scallops might be the way to go.
Sea scallops are found on the ocean floor and are larger than their bay scallop cousins. While they’re more expensive than bay scallops, they yield more meat, making them easier to prepare.
Cooking Scallops: Our Top Tips
It’s easy to cook scallops, but if you do it wrong, you’ll end up with rubber. From easy lunch recipes for beginners to luxurious dinners for the pro chef, here are our tips for perfect scallops every time.
Whether you’re working with wet scallops or dry scallops (untreated scallops), you want to remove as much moisture as possible.
For wet scallops (stored in a chemical saltwater solution), first soak them in homemade brine using salt, lemon juice, and water. This will remove any lingering flavors from their storage liquid.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels until any excess water is gone.
Pan-Sear Over High Heat
If you’re aiming to use as little fat as possible, or want to add rich sauces, then don’t add oil to your pan. You’ll need to use a quality non-stick skillet.
Heat the skillet to medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the scallops to the pan. If they give off water, tilt the pan and spoon it out to remove it. Keeping the pan as dry as possible will help your scallops get that delicious golden crust.
Cook them for 2 minutes on either side. This will ensure a nice crust and a buttery, smooth texture inside. Any longer and your scallops will overcook and become dry and rubbery.
Don’t Move Them
To make sure your scallops don’t stick, and to get a nice crust, don’t move your scallops in between turning them.
If you’re looking for richer scallops, then butter basting is the way to go. Add oil to your skillet and heat it up until it starts to smoke. Then add your scallops to one side, and cook them for 2 minutes.
Flip them, and then add some butter to the opposite side of the pan. Then, for the next 2 minutes, use a spoon to baste the scallops with the butter. This will give you a perfect golden crust, and a nutty, caramel flavor.
How to Cook Scallops the Right Way
With their unique flavor and buttery texture, delicious scallops will spruce up any dinner party, now that you know how to cook scallops. Be sure to have your method down packed, because your guests will be asking for your scallops recipe!
To make sure you cook scallops the right way, pat them dry, use high heat, and don’t overcook them. Keep them still for a good crust, and for a touch of luxury, butter baste them to make their flavors sing.
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