Basic Tips For Cooking Scallops
Us humans can be a little funny sometimes… We have no problem dropping some serious cash for a few tender sea scallops with some fresh veggies at a restaurant, but to think about cooking them ourselves? No, thank you! We have this fear that cooking sea scallops is incredibly difficult and we’re here to tell you that it’s actually the opposite!
- Start with the best. One of the tips with sea scallops is that the quality does, in fact, matter quite a bit! Fresh, quality sea scallops will make you look like a million bucks to your dinner guests. Poor quality will only make it that much harder for you to create a winning dish. It’s just a fact.
- Be prepared! Since scallops actually cook relatively fast, you’ll want to have all of your ingredients ready to grab. You don’t want to go digging for something once you’ve started cooking these little guys!
- Oil it up! While we know it’s generally a good idea to avoid using a lot of oil for health reasons, with sea scallops you want to be generous with your use of oil. We typically like to use Grape See oil, since it has a smoke point of around 420 degrees (Fahrenheit), but you can also use Canola oil or Olive oil.
- The Right Tools. The pan you use for sea scallops does matter, which is why we typically like to use our cast iron skillet and heat it and high heat. Since you’re using an oil that has a high smoke point and cooking on high temperature, many non-stick pans can release harmful chemicals. Good old cast iron pans work great!
- Prep Your Scallops. Bring your sea scallops to room temperature before you work on searing them. We know all of your that worry about food spoiling get nervous with this, but it’s important that your scallops aren’t too cold when you bring it into such a high environment in the pan. Also, pat your scallops dry.
- Sear baby, Sear! Now it’s time to sear your scallops. After your pan is to a high heat and your scallops are at room temperature and patted dry, you can focus on searing them. Be careful not to put too many in the pan. It’s not a contest to see how many you can fit. Instead, focus on allowing each scallop to have room to breathe and to heat up. Your scallops are done when they are translucent in the middle.
- Butter! Be ready with some butter to add to your scallops right before you take them off the pan to add in a little extra flavor and then remove promptly.
- Eat up! Scallops are best when served up immediately, so plan to have your other side dishes ready to go. The dishes can wait; it’s dinnertime now!
When cooking at home, people often avoid these small mussels because they can feel overwhelming or feel too “fancy” because you see them at fine restaurants. But, take it from us, sea scallops can be an amazing part of your weekly routine and one that packs some major flavor (and major nutrients!) in one healthy meal!