Scallops are easy to love. They’re juicy and mild, with a beautiful buttery texture. They can be a light dinner when served on a salad, or a decadent feast when they’re part of a surf ‘n turf. We especially like them when nestled into a bright dish of pasta. The best way to cook scallops depends on the meal you’re planning.
Tips for Buying & Choosing Fresh Scallops
It’s always important to start with good ingredients. The best scallops are usually called dry-packed, day boat, or diver scallops. This means they haven’t been treated with a preservative called sodium bisulfite, which bleaches them, plumps them with water, and makes them nearly impossible to brown. Don’t shy away from frozen scallops, especially if you live far away from the coast. Seafood is often frozen directly on the boat, making it super fresh.
How to Prepare Scallops
After you take your scallops home, use your hands to remove and discard the tough side muscle from each scallop. Before cooking scallops in pan (or the grill), it’s important to make sure they’re completely dry. If there is water on the surface of the scallop, it will evaporate in the pan and steam the surface of the scallop. This will prevent the outside from developing a delicious crunchy sear. Just use paper towels to pat away any moisture.
Best Ways to Cook & Eat Scallops
If you’ve cooked scallops at home, you’ve probably seared them. This method is very straightforward and just like cooking a steak. Heat butter or oil in a pan until very hot, carefully place scallops in the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown (the scallops should easily release from the pan). Carefully flip each scallop and cook until opaque, about 1-2 more minutes.
Grilling scallops will make you look like a superstar, even though they’re incredibly easy. Simply drizzle your scallops with olive oil, salt, and pepper and thread onto a skewer. For extra stability, use two skewers side by side so the scallops can’t twirl around. Cook on a medium-hot grill for about 3 minutes per side or until opaque.
Don’t be intimidated by this restaurant-style cooking method. Simply slice each scallop into 3 thin rounds and scatter onto a platter in a single layer. Top with an acidic dressing. This will cook the scallops for you! You can keep it simple with just lemon juice and olive oil, or you can try something a little more involved like an aguachile: a dressing made from lime juice, fresh chiles, herbs, and cucumbers.
Ready to try cooking scallops at home? Look for them on the Blue Apron premium menu.