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Old 07-11-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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How dry should scallops be?

I use dry-packed sea scallops. After they have thawed, I drain them and pat them dry. However, the moisture left in in them spatters big time when they hit the pan. I have avoided squeezing the moisture out of them for fear of them drying out. Is there a way to reduce spatter, or is it just part of searing them?

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Old 07-11-2009, 09:54 PM   #2
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you are doing the right thing...there will be some spatter. Pan frying and sauteing are messy by comparison to stewing and braising.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:45 AM   #3
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Since some vendors soak scallops in water to increase their weight, you might try scallops from a different source.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:56 AM   #4
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thaw them a bit earlier drain and let them set for a few minutes on something absorbent. That will remove the excess moisture without drying them out.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
Since some vendors soak scallops in water to increase their weight, you might try scallops from a different source.
The OP mentioned that the scallops are dry pack though which means they have not been soake in anything.

You are doing everything right. Do not squeeze them. Just pat them dry the best you can, but you don't have to get crazy about it. There will be some splatter, but that is OK.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:37 PM   #6
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Paddyc - I don't in any way mean to insult your intelligence, but are you absolutely sure that these are really "dry-pack" scallops?

I only ask because true "dry-pack" scallops (as in not soaked in water or the usual preservative solution) are somewhat delicate & command a very high price. As such, they're only offered fresh - not previously frozen/thawed - around here. And are bought up almost as soon as they hit the markets.

I'm not saying frozen dry-packs don't exist, just that both back in NY & here in VA I've never come across them. Freezing them just seems like a dumb thing for a vendor to do, because it really defeats the purpose of their specialness. In addition, while not all frozen seafood has moisture added, a lot does because freezing automatically removes some natural moisture from the product. And even with no added moisture, just the process of freezing/thawing will automatically release most any natural moisture left. The fresh dry-packs never splatter.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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I will agree in general with everything you said Breezy, with the exception of your last sentence. I only buy fresh dry packs. I get them from a very reputable local fish shop. I have bought probably on the order of 30lbs of dry pack scallops from them over the years. They have always been excellent quality and most certainly dry pack. They do splatter depending on how they are cooked. No matter how dry they are and how dry you get them there will be moisture that comes out. If you are cooking them on the stove top with some sort of fat then when that moisture does come out (even if it is a minimal amount, it will splatter.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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GB, this will just have to be one of those "agreeing to disagree" moments - lol!!!

I've been buying dry-pack scallops for 20 years now (the luck of living most of my life on the waterfront), & while I've experimented with a number of recipes, my favorites still start with my searing the scallops in a hot cast-iron pan just "filmed" with extra-virgin olive oil. Never so much as a hint of an oil "splatter". Maybe the scallops I get are super dry - I don't know. But I'm not going to agree with you that all scallops - especially dry packs - will splatter when mine don't - lol!!! Oh, & the source I get my dry-pack sea scallops from also provide The Inn At Little Washington, so I'm sure I'm not getting an inferior product.

So - all I'll do is "agree to disagree".

Edited to add - maybe I'm using far less fat. I just "film" my cast-iron pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Just a light film. If I used more, maybe it would splatter.
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:58 PM   #9
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Well we certainly can agree to disagree. I have not lived most of my life on the waterfront. I have lived my entire life on the waterfront. I do not think that makes me an expert by any stretch of the imagination though. The scallops I get are so dry that when I take a paper towel to them just before putting them in the pan the paper towel does not get a drop of moisture on it. It actually sticks to the scallop as if there was glue on it (from the protein) and I have to peel it off. I no longer even bother patting them with a paper towel because it is pointless as it removes zero moisture.

Of course even though they are called "dry" pack scallops, we all know they are not really dry. If they were then no one would want to eat them. We also know that when a protein hits heat it contracts and squeezes moisture that was inside to the outside. We also know that when moisture hits hot fat it sizzles. I am not saying that you have not experienced non-sizzling scallops, but I am saying that I have have experienced sizzling dry packs so your blanket statement of "the fresh dry packs never sizzle" is not accurate.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:17 PM   #10
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Whatever, GB. Really. That's why I SAID "agree to disagree". Do you know what that means? Lol!!! It means "cease & desist" & agree to differing opinions.

I'll stick by my 40 years at the seaside - where I was born & didn't move from until 12 years ago. And I'm not blind, deaf, or dumb. The dry-pack scallops I purchase do NOT "SPLATTER" (notice I didn't say "sizzle", like you misquoted - good friggin grief - EVERYTHING "sizzles" LOL LOL LOL) the way I cook them. Sorry - mind still don't "splatter". Wanna come over & listen? LOL!!!

Really - I called a truce. We will not agree. What's the problem?
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #11
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OP: maybe you are using too much oil.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:25 PM   #12
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What is the problem? Well you would have to tell me. I do not have any problem. I just saw a statement made that I disagree with based on my personal experiences and did not want to OP to get the idea that their scallops must not be dry pack because you said dry pack never splatter (my deepest apologies for using the word sizzle). If you would have said that "your" fresh dry packs never splatter then that would have been one thing, but to say that dry packs never splatter, insinuating that no one has ever experienced this when I actually have, is just not a fair statement and leads the OP to misinformation.

So yes, lets call a truce. I can wholeheartedly agree with that.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:34 PM   #13
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Truce, truce - thanks!!

Re: the splatter/sizzle thing? They're not interchangeable.

Anything & everything I put in a hot cast-iron pan that "sizzles", is supposed to. Anything & everything I put in a hot cast-iron pan that "splatters" - not always so. Totally different sounds & results.

But again - we're different folks with different cooking methods. And frankly, I'd be pretty **** pissed if my pricey dry-pack scallops splattered rather than sizzled - LOL!!!!
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:34 AM   #14
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GB - speaking of scallops - do you know why bay scallops are never offered "dry pack"? The only time I've ever seen them has been fresh off the boats at the east end of Long Island, NY (my old stomping grounds) & local fish markets in that same area. Anyplace else, while dry-pack sea scallops are available, never the bays.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:27 AM   #15
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I don't know why, no. I used to eat bay scallops when I was younger. I never even knew the big boys existed unti I started cooking for myself. I hated scallops when I was only aware of bay. Now that I know those are not the only kind they are one of my favorite foods.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:52 AM   #16
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The only thing I can remotely think of is that perhaps because of their size they're much more perishable than the big guys & thus it's even more desirable for vendors to treat them with the "solution" to increase their shelf life.

I rarely buy bay scallops because of the dry-pack issue, but tomorrow, for "Bastille Day", I'm going to be making Coquilles St. Jacques, & the local market has really nice-looking bay scallops on sale, so "solution" or not, I'll be picking up a pound.

Sigh. One of the very few things I miss since moving to VA from Long Island, NY, is the terrific fresh seafood.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddyc View Post
I use dry-packed sea scallops. After they have thawed, I drain them and pat them dry. However, the moisture left in in them spatters big time when they hit the pan. I have avoided squeezing the moisture out of them for fear of them drying out. Is there a way to reduce spatter, or is it just part of searing them?

Paddy
Paddy: If you are freezing the dry-pack scallops, they WILL give off water after you thaw them. this is not the objectionable chemical liquid that "wet pack" scallops have, but just the result of having been frozen. If you cook them fresh, I'll bet you won't have any spatter.

I have experienced what you're talking about, because I buy my scallops directly from the fisherman who sells his wares at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturdays. Often I buy scallops for more than one meal, and freeze those I'm not using right away. I try to give them a half hour on the Bounty pad after thawing them out, so that "freezing water" can drain out, but still there sometimes is a little spatter. Not to worry, they still should sear just fine.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:06 AM   #18
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Sodium tripolyphosphate (SSTP) can cause sea food to absorb moisture.

It is normally found in ice glazed sea food. In areas where you can not get fresh ice glazed can be the next best thing since it helps prevent frezzer burn.

Is it possible that the scallops were treated with SSTP but still labled as dry pack? Yes, cheating does go on in the sea food business.


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Old 07-16-2009, 05:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
T
I rarely buy bay scallops because of the dry-pack issue, but tomorrow, for "Bastille Day", I'm going to be making Coquilles St. Jacques, & the local market has really nice-looking bay scallops on sale, so "solution" or not, I'll be picking up a pound.
I don't eat bay scallops because they're almost always gritty- seems the silt & sand is never adequately rinsed from the. The texture isn't as good either, IMO. Give me fresh or dry-pack frozen sea scallops any day.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:25 PM   #20
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Just because no one else mentioned it, there is a Amazon.com: Progressive International Stainless Steel Splatter Screen: Home & Garden you can get that does minimize the stove top destruction :-)

And no, I'm not advocating buying stuff from amazon. That just tends to be the place I start shopping at since you can pretty much find anything you want there. I like doing searches there better then elsewhere.

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