Are you intimidated by scallops? Looking for a quick and easy Scallop Recipe? They’re expensive, I know, and easy to overcook. However, these Sauteed Scallops in White Wine Butter Sauce are simply divine and easy to fix. You just need to know a little bit about scallops and how to prepare them in order to take away the anxiety associated with cooking them at home.
A little knowledge is a good thing when it comes to seafood:
Beautiful Fresh Sea Scallops
So, what is a scallop, anyway?
Unlike their cousins’ oysters, clams and mussels, scallops can swim. By using their large adductor muscle, the part of the scallop that we eat, they clamp their shells open and shut to propel themselves through the water. The word “scallop” comes from the Old French word escalope, which means “shell.” There are approximately 400 species of scallops in a variety of sizes, from just a few millimeters up to three inches in diameter. Most of the scallops found in your local grocery store or fish market are either small bay scallops or larger sea scallops. They should have a sweet, distinctive aroma with no fishy smell. Scallops should be firm and almost translucent, with a white or beige tone. While bay scallops are found on the East Coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean, and in the Gulf of Mexico, sea scallops are concentrated around the West Coast in the Pacific Ocean and are also abundant in the Mediterranean Sea. Some scallops, such as Atlantic bay scallops don’t live very long. Others can live 20 years or more. Did you know that you can actually estimate their age by counting the annuli, or concentric rings on their shells?
How are scallops harvested?
Here in Florida, we harvest mostly small bay scallops. Here’s a great video from Misty Wells of the Tampa Bay Times which was shot in beautiful Crystal River, Florida. Watch for the glowing blue eyes of the scallops. You’ll also see one of Florida’s finest, the manatee, thought to be mermaids by the early sailors. (I guess they had been out at sea too long, as manatees aren’t exactly the svelte shape we associate with mermaids.) There are several amazing places to scallop here in Florida, and The Plantation on Crystal River is one of the finest. They will even clean and cook your catch for you. How’s that for fresh seafood?
Sea scallops, which are larger than bay scallops, are commonly harvested using dredges on gravel or sand sea bottoms. Since scallops can’t live out of the water, they ‘re shucked and put on ice or frozen immediately after being harvested. Sometimes, scallops attach themselves to reefs or live in more rocky waters. These scallops, typically labeled “diver scallops,” are harvested by hand in 100 feet of water or less. Because they are hand-harvested, diver scallops are usually less gritty than scallops which have been dredged.
How do you know which scallops to buy?
To ensure your scallop recipe is delicious, you want to purchase “dry pack,” “diver” or “chemical-free” scallops. Frozen scallops can be fine, but be sure to check the label and avoid any scallops which include sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), which is sometimes added to make them whiter, glossier, and plumper. STP increases the water volume of scallops, which in turn increases their weight. Scallops soaked in STP will not sear as well due to the added water content. They will steam instead, drying them out and preventing them from searing or browning as nicely.
Scallops Seasoned with OSA Gourmet Datil Zest
I have a distinct advantage, living so close to the ocean, as I’m able to buy fresh scallops at certain times of the year. Never hesitate to ask where your seafood comes from and if it was frozen or has any additives. Know what you are eating, and only buy the best quality fish and seafood. It’s expensive, so you want to ensure that your scallop recipe will be remembered in a good way. Off-flavor fish and seafood will definitely spoil your culinary experience, and make you want to cry over the time and money you spent to prepare it.
How do you thaw frozen scallops?
Scallops are extremely delicate. Don’t ever thaw them in the microwave. I place mine in the refrigerator overnight, rinse them gently, then pat them dry. If you forgot to thaw them slowly in the refrigerator, place your scallops in a well-sealed zip-top bag. Gently run cold water over the bag until they are thawed. I couldn’t find any local bay scallops, but I did find flash-frozen sea scallops without any additives such as STP, so that’s what I used in this delectable sauteed scallop recipe.
Since they are so delicate, scallops cook quickly and it’s extremely easy to overcook them. The most common way to prepare sea scallops is with a quick sear in a hot pan on the stove. It usually only takes one to two minutes per side, depending on the size of the scallops to cook them completely. Sea scallops may also be placed on the barbecue grill and I have even cooked them in an outdoor smoker. To grill, you will want to drizzle them with a small amount of olive oil and the seasoning of your choice. The oil will help prevent them from sticking to the hot grates of the grill. I use a piece of window screen, but you can purchase a grill pan made for fish and vegetables that will prevent small pieces from falling through the grates and into the fire. Be sure that it is meticulously clean, and I spray it with a cooking spray designed for the high heat of the grill. Scallops can also be baked in a casserole dish with wine, butter, and lemon or lime juice. Another way to cook them is to dip or baste your scallops in melted butter and broil them for about 6-8 minutes.
Datil Zest Sea Scallops In A Cast Iron Skillet
Scallops cook extremely quickly, so make sure the rest of your meal is ready to go before you begin cooking your scallops. They are best eaten immediately after cooking. Remove them from the pan as soon as they are cooked to prevent the heat from the pan from continuing the cooking process and drying out your beautiful sauteed scallops.
I used my grandmother’s cast iron skillet to cook these scallops because I love how it holds the heat, has a flat bottom, and sears the scallops beautifully. It reminds me of all the delicious things she used to cook in that old cast iron pan. A well-seasoned, well cared for cast-iron pot will last for years, and this one is at least 70 years old. Thanks for the memories Grandmother.
OSA Gourmet Datil Zest
Scallops Seasoned with OSA Gourmet Datil Zest
OSA Gourmet Datil Zest Fresh From Florida Orange, Lemon and Lime infused Datil Pepper Seasoning is perfect with scallops. Its zesty flavor profile brings out the sweetness in seafood while adding a spicy hit from the datil pepper. OSA Gourmet Datil Zest is the perfect complement to fish, seafood, chicken, and pork. IT will quickly become one of your favorite seasoning blends for its versatility and distinctive flavor.
I have a lime tree in our back yard that’s loaded down with blooms and beautiful bright green limes. Typically you see lemon used with seafood, but lime works wonderfully here too. Fresh lemon or lime is definitely best with delicate seafood, but bottled will do if that’s all you have. You’ll appreciate the bright tanginess it brings to this dish. Serve with wedges of fresh lime to squeeze over the scallops to add just a little bit more citrus punch.
Prepare scallops by removing the tough little muscle that is attached to the side of the scallop. (It looks kind of like the gristle on a piece of chicken, and is the muscle that attaches the scallop to its shell) I have found that this muscle is sometimes removed before sale, and sometimes not.
Gently rinse the scallops under cold water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. (Test the pan’s heat by adding a few drops of water. If the water evaporates on contact, the pan is hot enough.)
Place scallops in the pan in a single layer, leaving about a half-inch to an inch of space between each one.
Cook scallops until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes, then turn gently using tongs. Cook 2 minutes on the second side.
Remove scallops from pan and let rest on a plate while making the wine butter sauce.
Lower heat to medium. Add 1 Tablespoon of the butter to the pan and saute the scallions and garlic for about one minute, stirring to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the wine to the pan and cook for another few minutes. (You can substitute seafood, vegetable or chicken broth if you don’t want to use wine.)
When the sauce starts to bubble, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter one tablespoon at a time and stir.
Add the lime or lemon juice and stir to combine.
Add the scallops back to the sauce along with any liquid from the plate and turn them around gently in the sauce to bring them back up to temperature.
Remove immediately from the heat and plate the scallops, spooning the wine sauce over each scallop.
NUTRITION Serves 2 calories: 245 | carbohydrates: 6g | protein: 9.2g | fat: 15.1g | saturated fat: 0.5g | cholesterol: 15mg | sodium: 1243mg | potassium: 161mg | fiber: 0.6g, sugars: 1.6g |calcium: 394mg*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.*The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. For accurate nutritional information, calculate using the exact ingredients you use as brands vary in their nutritional values. Please consult your doctor for any questions or concerns you have about dietary restrictions.
Keyword Datil Zest, Easy Dinner, Old St Augustine Gourmet, OSA Gourmet, Sauteed Scallops, Scallops, Seafood, White Wine Sauce