A few years ago I found an article in Cooks Illustrated about why I wasn’t able to get a restaurant quality taste out of my grocery store scallops. I had always assumed it my because I just didn’t have the cookin’ chops to compete with a restaurant chef. And while that may be true, it wasn’t the main reason my scallops lacked taste. Here is my Scallops lesson of the day:
Wet vs. Dry
If you buy scallops at the grocery store, they will be wet 99% of the time. This is bad. It means that someone decided to saturate them in a solution of water and phosphates. Because of this, the scallops have a difficult time browning and they have a slightly soapy taste and rubbery texture. If you have a great seafood market, ask if they have dry scallops. If they aren’t sure, the scallops are probably wet. A dry scallop will be, well..dry. If it is sittin’ in a bowl of milk liquid, it’s a wet guy.
I’ll just assume that ya’ll have wet scallops, since that is what is most commonly available, but if you can find dry, buy them. The taste difference is huge (at least to me).
1 quart of water
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tbs Kosher or Sea salt
8 jumbo scallops (10-20 per lb size, the little guys just don’t hack it)
2 tbs butter
8 slices of prosciutto
1 tsp-ish of black pepper
1/2 cup fresh, diced mango
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp siracha
pinch or salt
Combine the water, lemon juice and 2 tbs of salt in a bowl and soak the scallops for 30 minutes (if you are 100% bet your $20 worth of seafood on it sure that they are dry, skip this step). Remove the scallops and place them on a stack of about 4 absorbent paper towels, then top them with more paper towels and press down slightly. Allow the scallops to drain and dry for about 10 minutes. In a sauce pan, melt the butter on medium high until very hot. Fold a slice of prosciutto in half the long way and wrap around your scallop (you can also cut it in half to make two long strips if you’d like) securing with a tooth pick.
Season the top and bottom of your scallops with pepper. Once the pan is hot, add 4 scallops to the pan (you don’t want to crowd the pan or your scallops will never brown) and cook for about 4 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for an additional 4 minutes or until the top and bottom both have a nice brown sear.
in a food processor, combine the mango, olive oil, honey, siracha and a pinch of salt and puree until smooth.
Top the scallops with the coulis and enjoy.