Your Guide to Choosing Scallops

When it comes to choosing scallops, make sure you look for “dry packed” and always buy from a reputable source.

lemonricottascallopsScallops are truly a delight to prepare and eat.  They’re a delicious option for both seafood lovers and those who may need a little convincing because of their unique sweet and rich flavor.  When it comes to choosing scallops all you need is a little knowledge and you’ll be ready to prepare an amazing meal for your family or friends.

Scallop Sizes

The size of scallops, just like shrimp, is typically denoted by a number system that indicates how many of them are in one pound.  If a scallop is labeled as “20/30” that means there are between 20 and 30 in one pound.  Just remember that the smaller the number, the bigger (by weight) the scallop.

Bay scallops are the small variety that you often see in the grocery store case or frozen seafood section.  They’re small, typically 70/120 size, and sweet but not what you want to use for pan searing because of their size.  Try using bay scallops in salads, soups and chowders, mixed seafood pasta dishes, or chopped up in seafood cakes (you can use them in conjunction with shrimp and/or crab).

Sea scallops, like those we sell at Chef’s Fresh Fish, are the big, juicy variety that is used in pan seared applications.  They are a whopping U12 size, meaning there are under 12 of them in a pound.  They can develop a flavorful brown crust when cooked over very high heat.

Diver Scallops

This means that the scallops were picked by divers rather than harvested by a boat and net.  The term is not an official designation of size, but divers really only choose the largest scallops they can find.

Wet and Dry Scallops

Wet scallops mean that they have been packed in a phosphate solution that whitens them and plumps them up with water.  These aren’t optimal simply because you’re paying for water and also because the solution contains chemicals that negatively affects their taste.

We only offer dry packed sea scallops at Chef’s Fresh Fish.  This means they have not been treated with any solution and are better tasting and free of chemical additives.  Dry scallops can achieve that desirable brown crust because there isn’t all that extra moisture that can cause them to steam.

Pick the Best

When choosing raw scallops, look for those that are plump and hold their shape.  Scallops should be shiny and a creamy white to ivory color.  Some will have a pink or orange tint which is a totally natural variation.  If they are bright white that’s a sign that they’ve been wet packed.  Be sure to purchase your scallops, and all your seafood, from a reputable source in order to get the best quality.

If you’re looking for delicious ideas check out our Scallop Recipes board on Pinterest!

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