Scallops can make your dinner feel totally luxurious and indulgent, with the added bonus that they cook in minutes with very little effort.
What’s the Difference Between Bay Scallops and Sea Scallops?
Bay scallops are relatively small, while sea scallops can be up to three times larger. Their difference in size also has an effect on flavor, as well as the best ways to cook each variety.
As their name indicates, bay scallops are typically found in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries along the East Coast of the United States, with a peak season during the fall.
Because of their small size, bay scallops benefit from a short cook and gentle method of preparation, like poaching or a quick sauté. Aside from size, there’s a big difference in the taste and texture of bay scallops. These small bivalves have pink to light beige color with a delicate, tender texture, and a sweet taste.
Most recipes will specify whether to use bay or sea scallops, although some may not. Because the cook time for each type of scallop varies, it’s best not to use them interchangeably. But if you insist on using a different variety than listed in the recipe, keep in mind that the cook time will need to be altered as well (lowered when swapping for bay scallops, and increased when swapping for sea scallops).
How to Make: Pan-fried Scallops
- 2 pounds bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic, and sauté 30 seconds.
- Add scallops; cook 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 minute.
- Stir in parsley.
- Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Also Try: Creamy Bay Scallop Spaghetti