Scallops. For some, it is a symbol of fertility, for others a powerful mark of pilgrimage and perseverance while it can also be just an attractive souvenir from the beach. They might have found their way through the cultural boundaries, but let’s face it – when it comes food, it is something that still remains an occasional or even an exotic meal that we only associate with special events and exquisite dinners. But it doesn’t have to be that way, not at all. Cooking scallops is easier than you might think, and they are a perfect tool for creativity. In these 7 easy steps, you are bound to find out why and learn more about them. Let’s go! Shall we?
Step 1: Let’s Meet the Scallops!
Found in all of the planet’s oceans, scallops earned their reputation of being a cosmopolitan species and one of the very few members of bivalve family that can actually swim. Whether they migrate on ocean floors or in short swimming bursts, the adductor muscle is the prime engine of such abilities. And that muscle is also responsible for their exclusive appearance in the food industry.
As a food, scallops offer two flavors alongside different textures in a single shell. The meat or the adductor muscle is also referred to as scallop and is the main food source for us. However, the other part is known as coral or “roe” in culinary terms which is usually removed from the shell before selling the scallops.
Step 2: Discover Different Types of Scallops
While there are hundreds of species and subspecies of scallops equipped with different characteristics for each, we will only focus on the ones that we use as seafood. Later on we will teach you how to cook them along with some great recipe examples and ideas.
Here are the two most common types of scallops seen at fish counters and on our plates:
- Bay Scallops are small, sweet and lovely. A perfect ingredient for soups and salads as well as for more delicate dishes such as ceviche.
- Sea Scallops are the larger kind, and probably the most iconic and popular ones. You are bound to see them at every restaurant menu as they are very well suited for both searing and grilling.
Step 3: How to Buy Scallops? Here Are Some Tips!
When it comes to buying scallops, there are a couple of key things to know, and we will have to go on the same route as our previous step – by describing the different types:
- Dry-Packed scallops are the ones that are sold without any additives or chemicals.
- Wet-Packed scallops are where STPP comes in. An inorganic compound makes the scallops to absorb more water making them heavier thus more expensive.
Which one to buy? Well, it depends.
If you’re aiming for quality and taste, then dry-packed scallops are the way to go as they shrink less and are primed for dry-heat cooking methods such as searing. Wet-packed scallops, on the other hand, can be easily overcooked and are difficult to sear, but could be used more effectively on moist heat cooking methods.
How to tell a difference? Scallops with SSTP are bright in white colors and soaking wet if touched, meanwhile dry scallops preserve their natural texture and muscle color of pale orange.
Step 4: Three Main Ways to Cook Scallops
Now, it is about time we step inside the cooking realm! But yet again, if we want to know as much as we can about cooking the scallops, then first we must acknowledge the unique ways of how it can be done. These are the main methods of cooking scallops:
- Stovetop allows for a quick and uncomplicated way to cook scallops while easily avoiding overcooking if attention is there.
- Grilling method fits the large scallops the best and cooks them beautifully, adding a smoky flavor to it.
- Baking scallops results in a great variety of unique recipes and ways to prepare them. Explore them!
Other less-used methods include broiling, poaching and even serving raw scallops. It is all about personal preference if you’re cooking at home!
Step 5: Creative Ideas for Scallop Dishes
The scallop is quite an easy material to cook and prepare, especially using the stovetop method. As a lean protein, it cooks and tightens up fast. But beyond the basic cooking, you can always explore interesting and creative ideas such as these:
- Grilled Scallop Tacos is a perfect example and can be made vastly different. Scallops will bring their own distinctive touch to the dish, and classic taco ingredients such as avocado or corn make it a brilliant match.
- Lemon Butter Scallops is easily an instant classic and we simply can’t let it pass. After quickly cooking scallops in the pan, simply remove them and add butter, garlic and lemon juice. Stir while adding parsley and after 1-2 minutes it is all done. Pour over the scallops and enjoy!
- Seafood Kebab is another creativity bomb. I mean, who doesn’t love kebab? Add shrimp and snapper-sausage alongside scallops and vegetables such as bell peppers. Cut them equally for them to cook properly and serve with grain or salad on the side.
Step 6: Advice for Cooking Exemplary Scallops at Home
When it comes to cooking scallops, the simplicity is key. But there are important nuances you should know which are involved in the
One of the key mistakes to avoid is leaving them in the heat after you have finished cooking. Remove them right after you’re done to preserve moisture and juiciness instead of getting chewy and tough pieces.
The quick cooking time of scallops is also a critical thing to be aware of. As mentioned, slipping into overcooking can happen in a blink of an eye and will result in a chewing competition rather than alluring dinner. And they should always be cooked fast as it allows them to maintain their delicate textures.
Scallops also have a small side-muscle which is chewy by nature. It is usually removed before cooking with any gill or slime remaining. However, it is eatable and safe.
Step 7: The Exquisite Pan-Seared Scallops Recipe to Try!
Are you ready for an enticing example and a dish perfected by a coveted and Michelin-star rated chef Björn Frantzén? If yes, follow along because, after this, scallops just might become a more frequent visitor in your kitchen!
Scrambled eggs with crème Fraiche and seasoned with lime juice is just a beginning. Sitting at the bottom of the plate are fresh scallops that are seared until they have a touch of golden color.
Once the scallops have been seared with canola oil they are plated on top of the scrambled eggs, sprinkle them with croutons. And of course, let’s not forget that vinaigrette made from black truffle oil and vinegar comes in too. Mouthwatering just might be an understatement here!
Intrigued yet? Check out the full recipe of Roasted scallops with truffled egg crème and video lesson for free here.
Conclusion & Cooking Class Invitation
Scallop by scallop, step by step - it is all about the learning experience and taking it slowly with each step being a building block in your cooking journey. Scallops are one of the most exciting parts of seafood gastronomy, and it can definitely become a part of your home cooking routine.
We invite you to explore possibilities of the cooking class led by Björn Frantzén where you will acquire skills necessary not only to prepare succulent scallop dishes but way more beyond it. Are you ready?