It’s true. I grew up in a region where seafood was abundant, and ate my fair share of all different kinds of shellfish, mollusks, fish … but I’d never had scallops until I was in my 20s. I was at a Mariner’s game for work that literally lasted a lifetime (my first and last professional baseball game—sorry baseball fans, but other than my onetime short-lived obsession with the late Roberto Clemente, I’ve never been into American’s game) when FINALLY, during the seventh inning stretch, I was able to convince everyone to leave. (I’d had enough peanuts and Cracker Jacks to last me a second lifetime.) We piled into my bosses suburban and took the I-90 into west Bellevue for dinner at McCormick & Schmicks. And it was there that I ordered scallops for the first time and fell in love with their delicate texture and rich taste. (Baseball, not so much.)
Nowadays, I order scallops in restaurants when they’re in season (typically November thru April) and buy them from a local fishmonger to cook at home. They’re one of the easiest types of seafood to cook—they can be grilled, baked or pan fried like the ones I show in the featured image (served alongside a 2-ounce portion of sockeye salmon). Oh, as for sea scallops and baseball … as far as I know they have nothing in common 😉
Diver scallops are hand harvested up and down the top portion of the East Coast and other parts of the world
Purchase fresh U-10 scallops: which means you’ll get right around 10 per pound. I typically serve 4-5 per person. NOTE you can buy frozen scallops just be sure to properly thaw them before searing.
In a large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to thinly coat the pan. When the pan is hot, place each scallop with the convex (bowed out) side down. Sear for 2–3 minutes. Salt and pepper the top of each scallop. Flip scallops, cook for an additional 1–2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.
If you’re a novice seafood enthusiast, try searing scallops and serving with a light, dill cream sauce
Creamy Dill Sauce (optional)
1-2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
⅛ cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh dill to taste, chopped
Salt and pepper
To prepare dill sauce, melt butter in saucepan, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, or until golden brown. Add wine and reduce until au sec (almost dry). Add heavy cream and dill, simmer on medium-low heat until desired consistency is reached, about 10 minutes. Salt to taste. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
INTERESTING FACT: Here in the U.S., what we consider a scallop is actually only one part of the mollusk—the adductor muscle. In other parts of the world, when you order a scallop it often has the roe attached—the orangish reddish part seen here. In the U.S., most scallops are shucked at sea with the roe and other portions discarded.
A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox
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