Storing + Shelf Life
When storing raw scallops, whether in the fridge or freezer, make sure they're kept in a closed container and placed at the bottom. To freeze, first lay them in a single layer on a flat surface, like a sheet tray, lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer, and once frozen, transfer them to a closed container or bag for long-term storage.
Refrigerated scallops, whether raw or cooked, are best used within a few days, while frozen scallops can last up to a few months.
How to Tell It's Ready
By Hand + Color
When scallops have cooked fully, their color should become opaque. Any natural translucency should be gone. If you press down on the scallops, the meat should bounce back quickly without hesitation.
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No matter which way you cook them, always pat your scallops dry beforehand, and wait to season until you are ready to cook (adding salt will draw out moisture). Excess moisture is often the cause of scallops sticking to the pan.
- Heat a saucepan on the stove, and then coat in butter (clarified is best to help prevent burning) or oil.
- Once the pan is hot. Place scallops on the pan and let them cook until the bottoms begin to brown and their color has become halfway opaque. Gently pressing down will help sear the whole bottom instead of having splotches of brown. As you can see in the picture, the scallops I pressed down on are completely seared, while others are not as seared. Either way, they will be delicious!
- Flip scallops to sear the other side, and let cook to your preference.
Tricks to Know
Preparing the Scallops
Scallops are best cooked without cutting beforehand. Because of their small size, they can easily overcook if cut into even smaller pieces. Cook first, and then cut to preference.
Removing the Side Muscle
The side muscle of the scallop appears as a small strip on its edge. These have a tough texture, and become even tougher once cooked, so you'll want to remove them before use. All you have to do is pinch and pull it off.
Defrosting properly is key to retaining their fresh texture and taste. Place the scallops in a container in a single layer, cover, and refrigerate. You can choose to defrost them in water to shorten defrosting time, but be gentle with them, as they can easily fray.