Seafood 101:
What To Know About Scallops

Scallops are considered to be a delicacy by many, but how much do we really know about this dish? Where do they come from? How are they prepared? These are all important things to know about scallops, especially if you’re interested in cooking them yourself at home. The following are some top tips for people looking to learn more about scallops. 

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Everything you need to know 

From appearance to method of cooking, there are many factors that can impact the end result of your scallop dish. These shellfish require a special touch when it comes to preparing them properly. If you’re looking to dive into making scallops at home, you’re in the right place. 

The more you know about this luxury shellfish, the better prepared you can be for entering the kitchen. We’ll touch upon everything from the nutritional value of scallops to the best way to purchase and store them before you cook them. By the time we’re done, we will all be scallop experts. 

What are scallops? 

A delicious shellfish and an incredible source of protein, scallops are considered one of the best types of seafood options out there. Scallops are mollusks, and they’re in the same family as oysters, clams, and mussels. They are among some of the most popular seafood options because of their taste, texture, and versatility. They are a staple among high-end seafood restaurants, and they’re a delicious option for anyone looking for a high-protein shellfish dish. 

Different types of scallops 

There are a few different kinds of scallops. The various types of scallops will range in appearance and taste. Even though there are a variety of different scallops, they do share some similarities. 

For example, their exterior shell is notably fan-shaped and symmetrical. This durable design is natural armor for the soft, delicate meat of the actual scallop. A scallop without a shell would be vulnerable to all the elements and various predators with which they share the water. 

Scallops look like little round medallions when they are removed from their shell. This is probably how most people picture a scallop, as we typically only see scallops once they’ve been taken out of their shells. While these medallions can range in size, we all have a general idea about what a cooked scallop is supposed to look like once it’s placed on the plate. 

As far as differences, this depends on the type of scallop and where they’re found. The two main types of scallops are sea scallops and bay scallops. A sea scallop is typically what you think of when you picture a scallop being served in a fine-dining seafood establishment. These sea scallops are larger, meaning they offer more meat and protein. 

A bay scallop is more commonly seen to be the smaller option, but they are much easier to catch because they are found in shallow bay waters. Sea scallops are found in much deeper waters, making them a little bit trickier to fish for, but they are still a beloved option for seafood lovers everywhere. 

How to cook scallops

When it comes to preparing and cooking scallops, it takes an experienced hand and eye in order to get it just right. If it’s your first time taking on the task of cooking scallops, we have all the tips and tricks that you need. Even if it doesn’t come out perfect the first time around, we’re going to give you the knowledge you need to make a delicious dish. 

The process of cooking scallops is quite simple in that it doesn’t take many steps, and scallops are an incredibly versatile protein. Additionally, scallops cook quickly, meaning that if you do decide to cook them for dinner, it won’t be a time-intensive process. The tricky part is getting the sear just right and perfecting the flavor profile of the dish. The cooking time will vary based on the size of the scallop, which goes back to being aware of the type of scallop you have chosen. 

There are also many different ways you can cook scallops. One of the most popular methods is grilling or searing, but this isn’t the only way it can be done. With scallops, you can sautee, broil, bake, or boil them and still end up with an amazing dish. While the total time to prepare them will vary — again based on size and shape — you can tell the scallops are done when they reach an internal temperature between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What do scallops taste like?

A fresh, properly prepared scallop should have a subtly sweet taste. While it is true that scallops take on the flavors they’re paired with in a dish, they do bring their own hint of sweetness to the meal. They also bring a bit of brininess while still tasting buttery and tender. 

Scallops should never taste sour, rubbery, or fishy. If you do bite into a scallop and experience an overwhelming fishy taste, unfortunately, your scallops were not stored or prepared properly. Many people describe scallops as light and rich, and with the right sear on the outside, scallops are a succulent choice for your next elegant dinner. Resorts World restaurants Las Vegas have some of the best options when it comes to high-end seafood dishes incorporating scallops. 

Where do you buy scallops?

When buying scallops, look for fresh medallions that have a sweet smell with a slightly translucent appearance. Fresh scallops should be firm to the touch and boast a creamy, white color. If the scallops you find have a fishy smell, feel slimy, or have a grayed or yellowed appearance, they have gone bad. 

If you do decide to go with a frozen scallop, this is actually a great option. As long as they aren’t kept for too long, and they are properly defrosted before being cooked, the end product can be just as delicious as a fresh scallop. Fresh scallops are the ideal option, but they can definitely be pricey and they need to be prepared right away. 

If you’re wondering what the best place to look for fresh or frozen scallops would be, the answer is actually pretty broad. Most fish markets will have some great options for fresh-caught scallops. They typically sell scallops by the pound, whether they’re fresh or frozen. While it’s likely you will find fresh scallops at any upscale grocery store or market, a fish market is your best bet for the highest quality shellfish. 

Dry vs. wet scallops 

When purchasing scallops from the store or a fish market, there are two ways that they will come packaged. It’s important to know the differences between these packaging styles to know what product you’re selecting. Markets and grocery stores will package them as either dry scallops or wet scallops. The following are some key differences to note between wet and dry scallops before purchasing them for yourself. 

  • Dry scallops are packed completely dry and have a shorter shelf life. These are generally considered to be the finer option when it comes to purchasing scallops. Dry scallops are packaged by themselves, and you end up with a purer, more concentrated flavor. 
  • Wet scallops are packaged in a brine which helps preserve them. While wet scallops last longer than dry scallops, they are considered the cheaper option. Wet scallops are a good choice for someone looking to cook this dish on their own for the first time. Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before cooking them to remove all of the brine solution. 

Ready to try some delicious scallops today? 

With everything you know about scallops, you’re ready to dive in. Whether you want to prepare them at home or visit one of the top seafood restaurants in Las Vegas to taste a plate made by the pros, you will surely enjoy this delicate and succulent taste experience. 

At Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant in Las Vegas, we pride ourselves in offering some of the most elegantly delicious scallop-based dishes. If you want to taste scallops done the right way, look no further than our handcrafted menu. We look forward to seeing you and introducing you to the wonderful world of scallops. 

Join us at Aqua Seafood & Caviar Restaurant for a delicious dinner tonight!