How to Buy the Best Scallops

With a tender mollusk in hand, you can whip up a gourmet meal in a matter of minutes. At ChefSteps, our favorite way is to give both sides a quick sear, and serve. But not so fast: The first step is always to make sure you score the very best bivalves on offer. It's very easy to find the best scallops for your meal once you know what you are looking for.

Fresh raw scallops
Firm, fresh raw scallops.

When it comes to buying scallops, there are a few things you should keep in mind:


1.  Fresh scallops should be firm to the touch (like a pork chop) and dry. If you spot wet and shiny scallops or they wobble easily when picked up, they’re past their prime.
2.  Size is very important. U/10 is a measurement that stands for “under 10 per pound.” You want your scallops to be about this size, which means each individual scallop will be approximately 1.5 to 1.75 ounces.
3.  Here’s the trickiest one: If it smells like a scallop, don’t buy it. A fresh scallop should smell like clean saltwater or seaweed, never fishy.

To get even more tips, watch the video below -- it will teach you everything you need to know before you head out to the fishmonger. 



Once you've got your goodies home, you can sear and serve simply atop sauteed greens, or something easy but fancy-sounding like saffron couscous. Whatever recipe you go for, the perfect product is key. Tell us in the comments how you like to cook your perfect scallops!

About the Author

ChefSteps Team

ChefSteps is a Seattle-based food and technology company on a mission to help people cook smarter. and its companion app are designed to inspire creativity and encourage experimentation in the kitchen through high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources. The team behind ChefSteps is made up of many voices -- chefs, scientists, photographers, writers...


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