Types of Scallops
There are three types of scallops widely available at fish markets:
- Bay scallops are the smallest scallops available and are usually served in soups, stews, or salads rather than on their own
- Rock scallops attach themselves, as you might guess, to rocks
- Weathervane or sea scallops are larger and the most prized scallops that you see on restaurant menus seared
Farmed (or "cultured") scallops are a "best choice" from Seafood Watch. "Diver" scallops are hand-picked by divers and can be a best choice. Avoid scallops caught by dredging, which harms the environment and other sea creatures.
A particularly sweet and meaty scallop is being grown in British Columbia – keep your eyes open for them.
How to Cook Scallops
All scallops should be cooked quickly to maintain their delicate texture. Overcooked or dried out scallops turn tough and chewy. Scallops can be poached, sautéed, broiled, baked, or fried. Many old-fashioned recipes douse scallops in heavy sauces, but I prefer cooking scallops with little added fat so the full flavor of the sweet, light meat shines through. Quickly searing scallops over high heat in a bit of butter is perhaps the easiest and most delicious way to cook scallops.