Thawing Frozen Scallops:
Before cooking frozen scallops, make sure they are thawed all the way through. To thaw, take the scallops out of the package and put them in a large dish and cover the top with plastic wrap. Thaw scallops in the refrigerator for an estimated 4-6 hours or until they are completely thawed.
If you’re in a time crunch, you can place the vacuum-sealed bag of scallops in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Thaw for 30 to 45 minutes, flipping the bag over after 20 minutes. Ensure that scallops are thawed all the way through before removing them.
Handling Fresh Scallops:
Fresh scallops should be refrigerated immediately after purchasing. For the best results, fresh scallops should be cooked or consumed within a day of purchasing them. Conversely, if fresh scallops are not being consumed immediately, they can be poached and then froze in their own stock for up to 3 months.
- For perfectly seared scallops, ensure that the outside of the scallops are as dry as possible. Line a baking sheet or platter with a double layer of paper towel and place the scallops spaced out on the sheet. Cover the scallops with another double layer of paper towel and gently press down on the scallops to absorb as much moisture as possible.
- Wait to season the scallops with salt until right before you begin to cook them. The salt will eventually draw moisture out of the scallops, making it more difficult to get that perfect sear.
- Higher heat is one of the keys to getting that crispy outside on your scallop. Choose a cooking oil that has a high smoke point so that your oil will continue to help sear throughout the cooking process. Clarified butter, grapeseed oil, and vegetable oil are all great options while whole butter and extra virgin olive oil should be avoided.
- When searing, make sure you don’t overcrowd the scallops in your skillet. This will help increase the heat for each scallop that is cooking and will ensure that they cook evenly. If your skillet won’t fit all of your scallops, cook them in batches, placing the cooked ones in the oven on warm.
- To get the golden brown crusted that you desire on your scallops, resist moving the scallops around while cooking them. Let your scallops cook for approximately a minute and a half (for medium to large sized scallops) before trying to flip them. They aren’t ready to be turned over until they don’t stick to the pan.