Scallops - How To

Posted on March 11, 2016 by CJ Jackson

Scallops - How To Love shellfish? Here are some tips on how to choose, prepare and cook scallops!

Choosing your scallops
Scallops can be purchased live in the shell or fresh scallop meats in boxes of 1 – 2kg weight. They are also available prepared (on and off the shell) and frozen. The cost of all these can vary depending on what you choose. If you want to prepare your own, some merchants will sell ‘Divers’ (diver harvested scallops) these are usually large and pristine in appearance and although quite costly, are well worth the money. Dredged scallops are less expensive but can be a little muddy. Queen scallops are a smaller species and are sold prepared on the half shell or completely prepared removed from the shell. Availability can vary depending on weather conditions and time of year.

King scallops take around 4 years to grow to a good size, very often you can see the growth rings on the shell. We  know we have a good stock of them in UK waters, but dredging is a high impact method of fishing. We choose diver scallops for the school and aim for small to medium in size.  

Roeless scallops are also available. These are usually imported from the US or China, where the coral is removed and the muscle is frozen ready for sale.

Storage and Preparation
If you buy scallops in the shell we suggest that you prepare them as soon as you can and then refrigerate them until you need them in a covered glass dish or china bowl. There are various ways of preparing a scallop. A fishmonger will prepare it so that it is trimmed and then left attached to the flat shell. For preparation at home use a blunt knife or oyster knife to lever the shell open at the hinge. Run the knife along the inside of the rounded shell to release the scallop and remove. Lift the scallop from the flat shell by running a knife under the white meat, close to the shell. The scallop then needs to be cleaned. Remove the black sac (stomach), the frill and trim so that all is left is the coral (orange and cream coloured roe) and the white muscle meat. Wash if necessary and pat dry.

Why not try…. Scallops, Chorizo and Red Pepper Stir-Fry
Season 8 scallops with salt and pepper. Fry 12 pieces of thinly sliced chorizo over a medium heat until the fat begins to run. Add 2 thinly sliced red peppers and 4 thinly sliced spring onions to the pan. Stir-fry over the heat until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Lift onto a plate. If necessary add a splash of olive oil to the pan, heat until just beginning to smoke and add the scallops. Brown on both sides for 1 – 2 minutes. Return the vegetables and chorizo to the pan and toss together with 2 tbsp chopped basil. Splash with a little balsamic vinegar, season and serve. Delicious!


CJ Jackson