With a subtle taste of the sea, scallops are one of the most popular seafood items. They are sweet and tender and give a feeling of luxury and indulgence. Although they are bivalve mollusks, scallops are so often seen already shucked that people are surprised to learn they grow in shells. Break open the shell and you’ll find a whole system of muscles and organs, but it is the adductor muscle (which opens and closes the shell) that we eat.
While not all scallops will break the bank, you probably notice that, in general, scallops are very expensive. A few factors, including size and weight, availability during harvest, and demand dictate prices for this mollusk. For example, scallop prices peak during the holiday season when they are in high demand. In December 2021, prices hit a record high of $37 to $38 per pound, (via National Fisherman). Lower harvest numbers have kept prices high this year, and the trend does not seem to favor prices lowering anytime soon, notes CBS News.
Since scallops are costly, you want to be wise in how you prepare them. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money on food only to ruin it through poor preparation. Scallops are surprisingly painless to cook, but it is also very easy to mess up this protein. That’s where we can help. This list of tips for cooking scallops will give you the confidence to cook this shellfish with ease.
Understanding the different types of scallops will help you cook them better, and there are over 400 species in existence, (via Britannica). The two main types you will see will be labeled as “sea” or “bay” scallops. Aside from harvest location, the real difference between sea scallops and bay scallops is their size and flavor.

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