Scallops are one of the most prized seafood to cook and eat. Here in the UK scallops are beautifully juicy, and high in protein.
When are scallops in season?
Scallops are cold-water fish that grow all across the world, but in the UK we mainly eat king, queenie, and petite princess scallops. Sourced mainly from around Cornwall, Scotland, and the Isle of Man and the best time for them are December – March.
Where can I buy scallops from?
Your best bet is to go to your local fishmonger or look online for a reputable delivery service, but most supermarkets also sell scallops.
Scallops are usually sold without their shell, and you want to look for plump, firm, and moist scallops that have a sweet aroma.
Look for hand-dived or sustainably farmed scallops grown in the UK for the most sustainable choice. Wild scallops that have been caught using the dredging method have been criticised for damaging sea beds, so asking for hand-caught is always your best bet, even if they are more expensive.
When buying scallops, one thing to note is whether they have been soaked in water. Doing this increases their weight. Scallops should smell fresh like the sea!
How to prepare scallops:
If you’re using pre-prepared scallops there’s nothing you need to do. However, if you’re working with scallops in their shell here's what to do:
Use a thin-bladed knife, or oyster shucking knife, and place it at the hinge of the shell, prizing it open slightly.
Flip the scallop over and run a fish filleting knife over the flat side of the shell to release the scallop. Open the shell fully then use a spoon to release the scallop from the bottom shell.
Pull off the frill, the black stomach sack, and any other pieces that are around the meat of the scallop and discard, leaving just the white flesh and any coral. The coral is where the scallop roe is. Many discard this, but you can eat it.
Rinse the scallop thoroughly in cold water, then cook.
How to cook scallops
How to grill scallops:
Heat grill to medium-high and season scallops generously with salt and pepper.
Grill for four minutes without disturbing, then flip them over and grill for 1-2 minutes more, until opaque throughout.
How to pan sear scallops:
Melt 2tbsp butter and 1tbsp oil in a pan. Blot scallops dry with kitchen roll, and generously season with salt and pepper.
Add scallops to the pan once the butter has foamed and slightly smoking. Cook for two to three minutes, or until a golden crust has formed on the bottom of the scallop. Flip over and cook for a further 2-3 mins more.