Cooking Scallops: Delightful Recipes and Expert Tips
Welcome to our 'Cadoha Cooks' online seafood cooking resource, where we continually share recipes inspired by our sustainable fishing adventures around Great Britain.
In this section of the guide we're going to focus on one of absolute favourite ingredients, freshly caught, hand dived Scallops!
As we sail around the UK we dive into the water in almost every place we go, on the search for fresh seafood. Out of all the bivalves and clams on offer in this nutrient dense coastline, Scallops have to be right at the top of our wish list as they are simply delicious, with such a huge variety of ways to cook them.
So our goal on this page is to share with you all of the ways that we find ourselves cooking scallops, plus answering many of the questions that people ask us about cooking them too.
Foraging Fresh Scallops
You can always just purchase your Scallops, ready prepared, and for most people that's never a bad idea. However, many of us, myself including, love the ability to find our own food and foraging for Scallops is one of the most rewarding because it can be as hard core an active pursuit with lots of swimming and deep dives as you like, or it can be a leisurely stroll along the beach at low tide.
In this case I found these four Scallops whilst I was out spearfishing, where I also harvested a fresh sea Bass and a beautiful Red Mullet.
Preparing Scallops & Roe
Most people eat the white meat from the Scallops, in fact this is almost always what you'll get if you order Scallops in a restaurant, but not many people realise that you can actually eat the roe too. The bright orange section of the Scallop is the roe and it's also delicious. It has a slightly different flavour with perhaps a more rubbery texture, but it is far too delicious to simply throw away.
Every time we harvest our own Scallops, we're sure to make the most out of everything which is edible.
Scallops and Red Mullet Veloute
What you can see in the next image is possibly the most delicious meal that either of us have ever eaten and that's saying a lot! Scallops and Red Mullet with a veloute sauce, amazing!
Also being sure not to forget the roe which you can see placed on top of the fish, like a cherry on top of a cake!
Common Questions for Preparing and Cooking Scallops:
What is the best cooking method for scallops?
Searing is often considered the best cooking method for scallops as it creates a caramelized crust while maintaining a tender interior.
Should I cook scallops in oil or butter?
Both oil and butter can be used to cook scallops. Oil has a higher smoke point, making it suitable for high-heat cooking, while butter adds richness and flavor. Choose based on your preference.
What is the secret to cooking scallops?
The secret to cooking scallops lies in achieving a golden sear without overcooking. Ensure your scallops are dry, preheat the pan, and avoid overcrowding to allow proper browning.
Should you bake or fry scallops?
Both baking and frying are viable options for cooking scallops. Baking provides a gentler cooking method, while frying creates a crisp exterior. Choose based on your desired texture.
How do you cook scallops so they are not rubbery?
To avoid rubbery scallops, make sure not to overcook them. Sear them quickly over high heat until they are just cooked through, about 1-2 minutes per side, depending on the size.
Do you put oil in the pan when cooking scallops?
Yes, it is recommended to put oil in the pan when cooking scallops. Use a high smoke point oil like canola or vegetable oil, or clarified butter, to prevent sticking and aid in browning.
Should you pat scallops dry before cooking? Yes, patting scallops dry with a paper towel before cooking helps remove excess moisture, ensuring better browning and preventing the scallops from becoming watery.
Do you rinse scallops before cooking?
It is generally not necessary to rinse scallops before cooking. However, if they appear excessively gritty or have an off odor, a quick rinse under cold water can be done.
How do you know when scallops are done? Scallops are done when they turn opaque and firm to the touch. Avoid overcooking, as they can become tough and rubbery. Cook until the center is slightly translucent and still tender.
Why do you soak scallops in milk before cooking?
Soaking scallops in milk before cooking is believed to help remove any fishy odor and impart a milder flavor. However, it is not a necessary step and is a matter of personal preference.
Some of our stops sailing around the UK on the map
The map below contains clickable links (anchor pictures) for all of the anchorages we've stayed in not only in the solent, but also some great spots in Dorset too. Be sure to check them all out to get a feel for these places before potentially going to explore some of them yourself. There are even more anchorages on our full British Anchorages Guide.