Scallops are a type of shellfish prized for their delicate texture and flavor. They are sweet and delicate when cooked swiftly, like in a hot pan. These tasty morsels require little fat or taste enhancers such as seasoning.
A simple supper of a few scallops on a plate can transform dinnertime into a special event. Learn more about the different type of scallops and how to cook them in this post.
What Are Scallops: Technical Explanation
Scallops are shellfish of the Pectinidae family, which includes clams, mussels, and oysters. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The tiny bay scallop is common along the East Coast beaches and estuaries of the United States. The larger sea scallop can be found at great depths reaching the ocean floor.
The price of bay scallops is typically lower than that of sea scallops, especially when the sea scallop is extra large. They should be a light pink or beige color with a smooth texture, regardless of their type.
How to Cook Them
It’s critical not to overcook scallops, as they will become rubbery. Fortunately, they cook quickly. Prepare the rest of your dinner in advance because you’ll only need four minutes to sauté them—and they must be served right away.
The ideal manner to cook scallops, whether sea or bay, is on the stovetop in a hot pan. Remove the side muscle from each scallop, dry them off, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Season the them with salt and pepper and pan-fry in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter for two minutes on each side. They can also be breaded and deep-fried, baked, grilled, or broiled.
What Do Scallops Taste Like?
Scallops are not as delicate as one might believe. When uncooked, they should have a scent similar to the sea (in a pleasant way). When cooked, they should still retain some briny notes.
Keep in mind that they are rather fatty, so you won’t want to eat too many of them. Scallops should be opaque and firm, with a white layer on the surface. They should also taste clean and fresh. When properly cooked, they have a smooth, delicate texture and melt in your mouth.
Varieties of Scallop
The tiny bay scallop and the larger sea scallop are the two most frequent varieties. Both of which have a somewhat irregular form. In the bay scallop, the adductor muscle that hinges the two shells explains its diminutive size.
The coral, which is inedible, constitutes the remainder of the bay scallop (ovary or roe). A typical bay scallop has a diameter of about half an inch.
Sea scallops can be up to two inches in diameter and are three times larger than bay scallops. They’re a little chewier, but they’re still delicate.
Divers sea scallops are becoming increasingly popular as a seafood dish at restaurants. A diver scallop is a sea scallop that is caught manually by a scuba diver rather than being dredged by a machine.
It is worth paying a higher price for diving because it is more environmentally beneficial. This is because here are no machines disrupting the underwater flora and fauna.
Although the method of cooking is straightforward, you may still add some unique tastes to your scallop dish. Scallops are served in a variety of cuisines throughout the world, so you can try different recipes from around the world. Find links to some classic recipes below.
Where to Buy Scallops
Scallops are often sold by the pound, but they may be found in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most high-end supermarkets sell them, while a fish market is a safer alternative.
They are weighed, not counted. Each scallop is labeled with the letter U (for “under”) and a number or range of numbers that indicates how many there are per pound (such as “U-10,” indicating you’ll receive less than 10 per pound).
Scallops that have already been prepared are often labeled as “pre-packed,” “wet-packed,” or “dry-packed.” You get just the scallops when you buy them dry-packed, with a more pure and concentrated flavor, fresher, and shorter shelf life.
Wet-packed scallops will be somewhat slippery (before using, rinse them to eliminate the brine and preservatives used in the packaging). This is because they are bathed in a solution meant to extend their shelf life.
When you’re purchasing them at the grocery store, make sure you’re getting what you ordered. All scallops should differ in size from one another and not be perfect cylinders, much as all animals of the same species do.
However, due to the fact that they are manufactured using a round cookie cutter, fake scallops will appear to be identical. They will also have the appearance of being more firm and dense; they’re probably made of shark meat.
The freshest scallops should be eaten the same day they are purchased, but if necessary, they may be kept for a day or two in the refrigerator.
Place the them in a zip-top bag and immerse in ice water until ready to use. If you need longer storage in the freezer, wrap the scallops completely in plastic; they will keep for up to three months.