SaveComments We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing. Scallops are like the candy of the sea: We’re always in the mood for them and we can always have just one more! They used to be a special treat that we only had when eating out, but then we discovered how incredibly easy they are to make at home. Here are a few tips we’ve learned over time.
The most common kind of scallops we see at the store are wet-packed sea scallops. You can also sometimes find them dry-packed or diver-caught, which usually indicate a higher-quality scallop. Bay scallops are a less common variety of coastal scallop that are smaller, sweeter, and more delicate. Whichever kind you buy, look for scallops that are a uniform pearly white color with firm, slightly moist flesh. They shouldn’t be either completely dry or dripping with moisture. Don’t spend your money on scallops that look mangled or shredded. This shows mishandling and can also sometimes indicate lack of freshness. Also, we wouldn’t bother with frozen scallops, as their texture and flavor aren’t nearly as good. We usually buy about one-and-a-half pounds for a dinner party of four people. This is enough for everyone to have their fill, and you might just get a few leftovers!
Compared to other shellfish, scallops are very easy to prepare for cooking! We usually just rinse them under cool running water and pat them dry. Check over the scallops as you’re handling them and remove the side-muscle if you find any still attached. The side-muscle is a little rectangular tag of tissue on the side of the scallop (see image below). It feels tougher than the rest of the scallop and its muscle fibers run opposite the fibers in the scallop itself. Just pinch it between your thumb and first-finger, and tear it away. Don’t worry too much if you can’t find it on all the muscles. It often gets dislodged and washed away during the harvesting process and won’t harm your dish if a few slip through.
Now to the good part! Scallops can be seared, grilled, poached, or even eaten raw if they’re very fresh. They cook very quickly and become tough and chewy if overcooked. In our opinion, it’s better to undercook them a bit rather than cook them too long. Our favorite way to prepare scallops is to simply melt a little butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the scallops. We sear them for about a minute and a half on both sides, just enough to get a golden crust and barely cook them through. To get a really crispy crust, make sure the scallops are dry as possible before going into the pan and salt them only at the very last second. Ditto for grilling. Poaching is a nice method to use if you’re making a seafood salad or if you’re planning on using the scallops in a filling. It gives us an incredibly tender and lightly seasoned scallop. We’ll make enough court bouillon to cover the scallops, bring it to a bare simmer, and then poach the scallops for just a few minutes. Any questions on preparing scallops? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?
Get the Kitchn Daily in your inbox. Food cleaning is an integral part of food hygiene. Sea food is no exemption to this. Learning how to clean scallops forms a vital part of prepping this delicious meal. But before you learn this important skill, let me first enlighten you more about this sea creature.
What are Scallops? How do Scallops Look Like?
The name scallops may sound fancy and exotic, and yes scallopsare in the list of those expensive sea foods you see in the stores. Not only are they expensive, but they are also among the moxt nutritious sea foods you will ever indulge in. So what exactly are scallops? Scallops either bay scallops or sea scallops are bivalve mollusks found in salt water bodies and live inside shells. Bay scallops, usually small in size are found in shallow warm waters. Sea scallops bigger in size are found in the deep dark oacean, making them harder to fish. Thus, more expansive when compared to bay scallops. scallops are bivalve mollusks. This means that the interior muscle, the conumable part is sandwitched between fan-like shells. These deliicous creatures are available all year round but for a sure fresh catch, seek them towards the end of winter and fall.
How Do Scallops Taste and Feel?
The interior muscle which is found between the shells is what we extraxt and eat. This edible part gets soft and tender once cooked. It has a sweet and salty brine taste.
How to Clean Scallops. Cleaning Fresh Scallops
If you bought scallops fresh from the sea, you will need to apply a few techniques in removing the shell and ensuring you clean them properly to indulge in a safe, healthy meal. To clean fresh scallops, you will start with removing the shell. To easily do this, first refrigerate them or cover them in ice for an hour. This should make them easy to open. Once ready, hold the top side of the scallop, which is the darker shell facing up and the shells’ joint facing away from you. The top side is usually not attached to the scallop. Take a knife and insert it between the opening of the two shelves. Pressing the knife down or twisting it slightly, apply some force to open up the shell. Be keen to insert just a few inches of the knife into the shell so as not to damage the scallop inside. Once the shell is open, you will locate the muscle meeting the top shell. Cut through this muscle. This will help you disengage the two shells at the joint. You will now be having a separate top shell and the bottom shell with the scallop still attached to it. We now need to clean away the scallop’s innards. Hold the scallop under cold running water. Clean away every other thing on the shell apart from the scallop muscle. Remove all dark spots on the scallop. Remove all innards by simply scrapping them off from the shell’s joint point going down along the muscle.
Scooping Scallop Muscle From the Shell. How to Clean Scallops
Its time to scoop the scallop from the shell if you do not intend to cook it while still on the shell. To do this, take a scooping spoon and place it between the scallop and the bottom shell. Push the spoon in and scoop out the scallop, this should be easy. Once you have your scallop removed, give it another cold water rinse. Run it through cold water, gently rubbing it with your fingers. Feel for any tough surfaces on the scallop surface. These are usually muscles and you will need to remove them as the do not cook well. Repeat this until all of the scallop surface is evenly soft, and your scallop will be recipe ready.
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