That delicate, refined taste of scallops: we could praise it. All the more reason to pay close attention to that delicious taste and texture while cooking. The last thing you want is to overcook your scallops and make them look like rubber.
What do you want? A perfectly seared scallop: with a thin, crispy crust on the outside and a tender, buttery soft inside. Higher math isn’t, but at least keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind.
Do’s when cooking with scallops
- Buy your scallops as fresh as possible. Preferably at the fishmonger of course, and just before you start preparing them. So don’t keep them in the fridge for another three days before you bake them, that’s a shame. Don’t have a fishmonger? Then choose the frozen version and thaw them in the fridge a day in advance.
- Always pat your scallops dry before baking them. The drier the scallops, the better they will sear. First, gently pat them dry with a few sheets of kitchen paper. Then give the scallops a pinch of salt and wait 15 minutes (this causes extra dehydration). Then pat them dry again with some clean kitchen paper.
- Season your scallops beforehand with salt and pepper. Salt is tasty and makes the scallops slightly drier, black pepper provides extra depth.
- Always fry your scallops briefly and at a high temperature . Two minutes per side is a good guideline, although it is often less with smaller specimens. The trick is to see when a nice crust starts to form. This is when you want to flip the scallop and do the same on the other side.
Don’ts when cooking with scallops
- If you want to season your scallops with other spices (such as paprika or curry), do not do this beforehand, but only after you have taken them off the heat . If you do this in advance, the spices will form into a wet paste, which is not very tasty. Just a pinch just before serving!
- By the way, don’t overdo it with these kinds of seasonings : scallops have a delicate taste that you don’t want to overshadow by too strong marinades. A well-dosed pinch (of, for example, smoked paprika, or vadouvan ) can of course be very tasty.
- Don’t fry in butter , no matter how tempting it may be. This is because small milk particles in the butter will burn when heated at a high level, but as mentioned before, that high heat is necessary for scallops. Result: if you fry in butter, your scallops will have a burnt taste and they will soon have black dots. So rather opt for an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil. Do you still want to cook with butter? Use ghee or clarified butter.
- Again: don’t fry scallops for too long! Once you have a nice crust on both sides, you can remove them from the heat. A rubbery texture is created when you fry scallops for too long: try to avoid this at all times.
Recipes with scallops?
- salad with scallops and chili mayo (Coquille Louie)
- Christmas scallops with wakame salad & wasabi mayo
- scallops with pineapple salsa