We have said it before, cooking fish puts the frighteners up many keen chefs and amateur cooks because if there is one thing you want cooked properly its anytime of seafood, or you are going to know about the consequences of undercooked seafood!
However, what people don’t realise is that most seafood is so easy to cook, and usually doesn’t need a lot of knowhow to do. Many cooks tend to overcook scallops and shrimps because they don’t realise that it takes a few minutes for them to reach their optimal cooking temperatures.
If you are about to hold a dinner party and want to woo your guests with some sublime home cooked scallops then look no further. We will show you everything you need to be able to cook the perfect scallops right here, so without further ado let’s get stuck in, and get cooking.
One of the main reasons people are scared of cooking scallops is because they don’t come very cheap, in fact you can be prepared to pay anything from $20 – $30 for a pound of the luxury food so getting it wrong can be a hard thing to take.
However, as we mentioned above, and with most fish like this you have to remember that they cook quickly so you need to be on top of that. If time is at the forefront of your mind that $20 is going to pay off with a great meal.
Firstly, you need to prepare your scallops and you do this by removing the muscle tissue that secures the scallop to its outer shell. Use a knife to do this, or pull them away with your fingers. Try to pull off each of the joining muscle tissues if you can as it makes for a more pleasant dining experience as the muscle tissue once cooked it quite chewy.
Now you have completed this step it’s time to season your scallops, so grab some black pepper and sea salt and sprinkle the scallops with the seasoning before you head to the cooking stage.
Take out your pan and turn up the heat to medium-high, you can use either olive oil or butter to coat the bottom of the pan this up to you but butter does tend to give the scallops more of a taste than oil does so it might be worth trying out both at some point to see which is better suited to your taste buds.
When the oil or butter starts popping your scallops are ready to go into the pan, make sure that there is no overlapping here. Space the scallops out in the pan so they each have a good bit of room to cook in.
Now your scallops are cooking away in the pan we are brought back to that all important aspect of time. You want to cook them for about 2 minutes on the one side, and then turn them over to cook for a further 2 minutes on the other side. What you should have by the end of this is both sides sporting a nice golden brown colour which means that the scallops are cooked right the way through.
Some other tell-tale signs that the scallops are cooked are that the sides should look opaque and firm to the touch. If you have lost track of the time and overcooked your scallops then what you will see if that they may be tough and chewy.
Once cooked take them off the heat and get them to the serving table straight away so your guests can took into them.
If you really want to wow your guests with fine dining then scallops go very well with pasta, and a lemon juice squeezed over the top. The pasta compliments the scallops and also helps fill up your guests at the dinner table. Remember that usually a pound of scallops will give you in the region of 6-8 scallops depending on the size of them so if you are feeing 4 people then you are going to need a good 2 pound of scallops which could see you paying anything from $40 – $60, unless you can find them cheaper.
The final tip that we will leave you with, is not to rush into cooking your scallops. As scallops are best served immediately after cooking and because of the little time it takes in actually cooking them, these should be left right up until the end. So get your pasta and all other ingredients cooked and ready before you begin cooking your scallops.
As the scallops take less than 5 minutes to cook it also means that the rest of the dish should still be at a good temperature to be able to serve.
There you have it, the perfect scallops.