🔕 🔔

My Basket ()

All questions

Question about scallops

What's the difference between dry and wet scallops. I think dry are preferable, but why?

asked by mrslarkin over 6 years ago
9 answers 6421 views
34b35e7d 9f0b 412e bbb2 00e0498f86d5  2016 10 06 19 40 38
added over 6 years ago

You are correct! Dry scallops are not treated with chemicals like "wet" scallops are.

7d2e9fbe d94b 4831 9a41 e7e53d9676f8  img 0061
added over 6 years ago

Dry scallops haven't been treated/preserved with any chemicals and are what you need to use if you want to get a nice sear on the scallop. Wet scallops have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate to "preserve freshness" and retain water. Even if you pat these dry, they will weep water when cooked and won't get a good sear on them.

72b8c92f c97c 49cf 8fc2 4b08462521f6  me
added over 6 years ago

all of the above are correct. Dry scallops won't shrink to nothing when seared.

3639eee1 5e0d 4861 b1ed 149bd0559f64  gator cake

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 6 years ago

Wet scallops are treated with a chemical - sodium tripolyphosphate - which helps improve shelf-life but really negatively impacts the flavor. Ideally find dry scallops. If you cannot find dry scallops, CI recommends soaking the wet scallops in a solution of 1 qt water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 T salt for 30 minutes. The acid counteracts the alkaline sodium tripolyphosphate. When you season them for cooking after their soak don't add extra salt.

1097a5b5 1775 4eec a8ea 7421137b65dc  image 2 apples claire sullivan 2

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 6 years ago

Besides not being preserved in any chemicals - dry scallops also sear much better and much quicker.

Quick is important here - with wet ones, by the time you get a good sear on the outside, they're usually overcooked inside and fresh scallops are best just barely cooked in the center.

(Tip: don't be afraid of a high flame with scallops, and resist the urge to turn them before they're good and brown - only turn once.)

46b9942c 0d6a 4aed 80f5 c5bad3020a75  butterfly
added over 6 years ago

I can not get dry scallops in my area but I love to eat them and cook them. I compensate for the WET type by doing 2 things....I cook them in a hot, hot, smoking hot, well-seasoned cast iron pan with no oil in the pan only on the scallops. The other say is to wrap them in par-nuked bacon and grill them on the hottest grill you can make. They will shed their water and crust on the outside every time. Better than nothing MrsLarkin and I love scallops.

9b94e94b 0205 4f2c bb79 1845dcd6f7d6  uruguay2010 61
added over 6 years ago

Phosphates not only preserve the scallops, but raise the pH of the meat, which allows more water to bine to the scallops. This is done in a machine that looks like a giant cement mixer. So, when you buy wet scallops, you are buying what I like to call a sponge . . . lots of water to help profits. If you really want to buy a great scallop, go to a proper fish monger who has them still in the shell and will shuck them for you. Would you buy dead clams? Or dead lobster? Same reason I never buy dead shrimp, only whole, live ones. We are lucky to have a real fish monger in our town.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

Costco and Sams Club sell frozen dry scallops by the bag if you have one near you. Thaw properly, pat dry, lightly season, then sear away. Yum!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

I'm assuming most scallops on sale in grocery stores, including WF, are wet scallops. How can you tell if what's on offer is dry scallops? I've never seen any marked as such.

Let's Keep in Touch!

Get the recipes and features that have us talking, plus first dibs on events and limited-batch products.

(Oh, and $10 off your order of $50 or more in the Food52 Shop, too.)

Please enter a valid email address.