There are few types of seafood that get more squeals of delight when presented on the dinner table than scallops.
These delicious, two-hinged mollusks come in two types: big, succulent sea scallops and smaller, less expensive bay scallops. I like using sea scallops for pan searing and bay scallops in soups.
Because frozen scallops are every bit as good as fresh, you can get your hands on these guys just about anywhere, regardless of how close to a coast you live.
And, you’ll be happy to know that scallops are a good choice if you’re concerned about sustainable seafood sources. The scallop fishery has very little impact on the environment.
Health benefits of scallops
Besides being delicious and widely available, scallops are very nutritious. Scallops are chock full of protein—a 3-ounce serving contains 14 grams! Scallops are also an excellent source of Vitamin B12, phosphorous, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Scallops help to prevent cancer, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and childhood asthma. They can even regulate your blood pressure—that’s how good these little guys are for you!
With a wonderful texture (when cooked properly) and a pleasantly sweet flavor, even many non-fish lovers adore eating scallops.
When it comes to preparing scallops, you should absolutely never ever microwave them. That will guarantee that your tender white shellfish becomes white rubber.
Let your frozen scallops thaw in the fridge overnight (put them on a plate so any juices are collected).
The easiest way to cook scallops is in a good heavy skillet.
Melt butter over medium heat and, while the pan is heating up, gently pat your scallops dry, remove the little bit of tough hinge meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the scallops in the pan being careful not to crowd the pan. Crowding releases too much moisture and will prevent your scallops from developing that nice brown exterior.
Don’t be tempted to flip them over before they’re ready to be flipped! Scallops only need a couple of minutes per side and you’ll be able to see the bottom half of the scallop firming up when it’s had enough contact with the pan. After you flip your scallops, you’ll only need a minute or two to finish them off. You’re looking at a total cooking time of about 7 minutes tops to cook scallops perfectly.
If you want to be fancy, turn the heat down a bit after you remove your scallops and deglaze the pan with a bit of butter, white wine, broth, and lemon juice. Stir until much of the liquid is reduced and serve this wine sauce over your scallops.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy scallops?