If you are wondering what do scallops taste like this post answer everything you need to know about this seafood.
If you’re looking to add a little seafood flair to your next dinner party, scallops are the perfect dish to try.
But what do they taste like? And how do you cook them?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about this delicious shellfish!
Want to know more about foods? In this post we share what does swordfish taste like.
What are scallops
Scallops are a type of mollusk, which means they’re related to clams and oysters. But instead of building their shells around themselves like other mollusks, scallops build them into two halves using calcium carbonate.
When the animal is alive, the shell will be covered in small hairs called “cilia.” When scallops die, these cilia disappear, and the two shells are separated.
Scallop meat is white in color, with a smooth surface texture that has small eyes which help the shellfish detect light.
The type of scallop you’re eating will determine its size–bay scallops are much smaller than sea scallops.
Bay scallops are generally much smaller than sea scallops, in fact sometimes the only way to tell them apart is by their color.
Bay scallops are usually white or creamy in color while sea scallops are usually brownish-golden.
For this reason many prefer bay scallop taste since it can be less of a challenge for the cook, and it’s why bay scallops are more expensive.
Sea scallop meat is also firmer in texture than their cousin. If you’re wondering, no sea scallops are larger than two inches across while bay scallops can grow to be much larger.
What do scallops taste like
Scallops have a buttery and tender texture with a delicate flavor that can be somewhat comparable to shrimp or crab.
Some people say scallops have a nutty flavor and some even say it has some nutmeg notes.
But ultimately, the flavor of scallops can vary depending on where it’s sourced.
Scallop taste depends mostly on its diet, so sea scallops are usually more flavorful than bay or calico scallops. Some people consider them to be sweeter.
If you’ve had sea scallops before and found them to be bland, the problem could be the way it was cooked.
The best way to cook scallops is to sear them in a pan or on a grill, but many chefs overcook scallops which causes them to become tough and rubbery.
What’s the texture of scallops
Scallops, especially larger scallops, can be a bit chewy and tough to eat if you’re not careful.
Most seafood enthusiasts recommend leaving the brownish side of the scallop attached to it while cooking so that it forms a natural handle and prevents all of your hard work from breaking off into the pan.
How to pick the best scallops
While it’s important to buy the best scallops you can afford, there are also a few tricks you can use to pick out the freshest ones.
Scallops should smell like fresh ocean water and not at all fishy. If they do smell fishy, that means they’re old and no amount of cooking will help.
When you get home with your scallops, make sure they’re still cold and if possible, keep them on ice.
If they start to sweat or smell like ammonia at all, throw them out! It’s better safe than sorry.
Since sea scallops can be a bit pricey, it’s important that you select the ones with the most meat on them.
The smaller or ultra-thin scallops are often tough since they no longer have a protective layer of fat, so it’s best to go for thicker sea scallops that have plump amounts of white flesh.
When cooking bay scallops you should select those without any brown edges or dark spots.
Once you have your scallops home, pat them dry and put them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook them–just as you would with any other meat.
How to cook scallops
Most people overcook scallops, which causes them to become tough and rubbery.
The easiest way to cook scallops is to sear them in a pan or grill them on the BBQ. You can also poach or steam then but if you’re looking for that caramelization, it’s best to sear your scallops.
Heat butter in a skillet over high heat.
When the butter begins to foam, add in your scallops and sear them for one minute on each side. Cook quickly so you don’t overcook them!
Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and top with parsley if desired.
How to know if scallops are fresh
Fresh scallops should smell like the ocean and they should be cold.
If your scallops are in a plastic container covered with ice, that is a good sign that they’re fresh.
The meat should be tender but firm and the color should be white but crystal like, not cloudy.
How do you clean scallops?
It depends on how you buy them. If they’re already packaged, it’s easy to just rinse them under cold water then pat dry with a paper towel.
If you bought them fresh from the fish markets, you’ll have to clean and shuck them yourself.
In order to remove their tough shells, hold your scallop flat on a cutting board and make an opening along the narrow side by inserting a paring knife between the two shells.
Using your other hand, you should be able to pop open their shells then scrape off any soft or brown parts with a spoon or soft brush–just like you would with clams.
Once clean, rinse them under cold water one more time and pat dry.
What do scallops go with?
Scallops are very flavorful so they pair well with lots of different ingredients. It’s best to use lighter flavors like lemon, parsley, or other light herbs when cooking with sea scallops.
If you’re using bay scallops then heavier flavors like butter, cream, or cheese sauces work best since you don’t want to overpower their delicate flavor.
Scallops are also great in seafood soups and stews!
Frequently asked questions about scallops
Do scallops taste very fishy?
Not really, no. Scallops are one of the milder tasting types of seafood.
If you’re eating bay scallops, they have a slightly fishier flavor because they’re harvested in shallower waters near colder climates.
However their flavor profile is very soft with some saltwater notes.
Why do scallops taste weird?
They shouldn’t taste weird. Fresh scallops should taste mild and a bit like salt water.
If your scallops taste like metal, or bitter, that’s a sign they’re not fresh, not the best quality, or they were overcooked.
If they taste like ammonia that means they are spoiled so throw them away.
If they taste metallic that probably has to do with how they were frozen. Some places soak them in a STP chemical bath that can give them a metallic taste. Same if they are bitter.
Can you grill scallops?
Yes you can!
Grilling scallops imparts a smoky flavor and a lovely golden brown color, but it also requires constant attention so the scallop doesn’t overcook or burn.
Are scallops chewy?
Good cooked scallops should have a melt in your mouth texture.
If they are chewy that’s usually because of how they were prepared or stored. A metallic taste can also be a sign that the scallops were frozen incorrectly and soaked in those STP chemicals as mentioned before.
Do scallops taste like crab?
Yes, they can have a similar flavor profile to crab meat, especially if they’re prepared with ingredients like white wine, garlic, or parsley.
Do scallops taste like shrimp?
Yes, to some extent. However, scallops are much softer than shrimp so they have more of a creamy flavor instead of the slight crunch you get with shrimp.