One of the best things about catching scallops is eating them! Scallops can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways, and the best part is, you can do it yourself! No need for a restaurant or professional chef, although both are great options if possible. Oftentimes, restaurants by the shore will offer to prepare your fresh catch, but check beforehand to be sure.
The origins of eating scallops goes back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known to develop and enjoy scallop recipes we still eat today.
You want to make sure to have fresh scallops. This can be achieved by either store buying your scallops or catching scallops yourself straight from the sea. Catching your scallops yourself is a fun and exciting way to get fresh scallops. If you plan to catch them yourself, you want to make sure where you are scalloping is within season.
You want to start with fresh scallops and coming right off the water is a good start. It is important to properly store the scallops you harvested by ideally, putting collected scallops into a live well on the boat. If not, a cooler with ice is a sufficient alternative. Scallops are sensitive to temperature and will die quickly if not kept cool, but be sure to keep them separated from the melting ice water runoff as if freshwater gets into their shells they will die. If in the live well, place the scallops on ice right before cleaning to keep fresh and relax their muscles. A knife can be used to open the shells and cut the muscle free.
Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and then let sit for about 10 minutes to remove any excess moisture. This helps them develop a nice sear and prevents them from becoming watery. Then, season the scallops with salt and pepper or any other desired seasonings. You can also use a marinade or spice rub to add more flavor.
There are several popular cooking methods for scallops, including pan-searing, grilling, baking, or even raw in ceviche. Select the method that suits your preference and available equipment.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. Once hot, add the scallops to the pan, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they develop a golden crust and are opaque in the center.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread the scallops onto skewers or use a grilling basket to prevent them from falling through the grates. Brush the scallops with olive oil and season them with your favorite herbs and spices. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the scallops and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with a drizzle of the garlic butter sauce.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced shallots or onions and cook until softened. Stir in heavy cream, a splash of white wine, and some lemon zest. Simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, then add the scallops and cook for a few minutes until they are opaque and cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs.
Slice the scallops thinly and place them in a bowl. Add diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and let the mixture marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled as a refreshing and tangy appetizer.
Preheat the oven to a high temperature, around 425°F (220°C). Place the seasoned scallops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until they are cooked through.
Scallops cook quickly, and overcooking can result in a rubbery texture. Keep a close eye on them and cook just until they are opaque and tender. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the scallops, so adjust accordingly.
Once cooked, remove the scallops from the heat source and serve them immediately. Scallops can be enjoyed on their own, as a main course with sides, or used in various recipes and dishes. Lemon juice, herbs, garlic, and butter are popular additions that complement the natural sweetness of scallops.
If you’re looking to cook up some of your own freshly caught scallops, check out out scalloping charters to get out on the water and catch your next delicious meal with our local professional guides.
Updated on May 26, 2023
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