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LittleWing

Best way to defrost scallops?

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I know this is last minute, but my SO and I are trying to come up with some dinner for tonight (we eat pretty late, so I have a few hours) , andI have some great scallops that we froze (cuz we couldn't use them right away). We just want to sear them, so its going to be any easy cooking job.

BUT, i've heard that defrosted scallops don't turn out well.

Any suggestions?

thank you in advance!!!

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If they are in a bag, just plop the whole thing into a sink full of cold water. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. I do this all the time. I will even just plunk them, out of the bag, into to cold water and then dry them off before cooking.

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Scallops freeze just fine. In fact, unless you have a great fish source, or you harvested them yourself, there's a very good chance that your scallops had been frozen and thawed before you bought them.

Once they're thawed, you can always test-sear a piece. If it's not acceptable, start thinking about another preparation.

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If they are in a bag, just plop the whole thing into a sink full of cold water.  Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.  I do this all the time.  I will even just plunk them, out of the bag, into to cold water and then dry them off before cooking.

Yep yep. Ziplock bags work well. We rarely plan in advance and so use this method pretty much whenever we eat scallops. Be sure to dry them and salt them before searing.

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The scallops had been fresh fresh fresh - my SO was kind enough to bring them home for me from the organic restaurant where he works (as a manager - neither of us have much talent in the chef department). But since we both work at restaurants, we rarely have the opportunity to eat dinner at home (nor the desire to cook!) so we froze them.

But your defrosting technique worked wonderfully. Thank you so much for debunking that rumor and for helping me out so quickly! The scallops were delish.

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Scallops freeze just fine.

Dave, can you say more about this? One of our staple dishes here is scallops seared in brown butter with white pepper, salt, lemon, and EVOO. My anecdotal evidence over many years of making this dish is that never-frozen scallops do not give off very much liquid on the high heat, whereas frozen ones that have been defrosted give off quite a bit -- so much, in fact, that the scallops never properly sear.

And, since I know you're all wondering, they're properly (that is, New-Englanderly) called "SKAWL-ops." Ahem.

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Scallops freeze just fine.

Dave, can you say more about this? One of our staple dishes here is scallops seared in brown butter with white pepper, salt, lemon, and EVOO. My anecdotal evidence over many years of making this dish is that never-frozen scallops do not give off very much liquid on the high heat, whereas frozen ones that have been defrosted give off quite a bit -- so much, in fact, that the scallops never properly sear.

And, since I know you're all wondering, they're properly (that is, New-Englanderly) called "SKAWL-ops." Ahem.

Ms. Alex laughs at me when I say SKAWL-ops.

Are the frozen ones you've used "dry" (never treated) or "wet," which will exude lots of liquid. Even when I've defrosted dry ones, they'll still give off some. If I make sure that they're completely defrosted then pat them dry with paper towels I can get a good sear.

Buried in a thread somewhere is Paula Wolfert's tip: sear the scallops on either side over high heat, then hold them on a wire rack over a pan in a 200F oven while you finish the sauce or whatever. The scallops continue to give off some liquid, which then winds up in the pan instead of on the plate.

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Are the frozen ones you've used "dry" (never treated) or "wet," which will exude lots of liquid. Even when I've defrosted dry ones, they'll still give off some.

Treated? Treated how, exactly? Poorly, I imagine.... :sad:

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Some scallops are treated with Sodium Triphosphate which aids water retention, allowing retailers to sell more scallop for the same price.

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Scallops freeze just fine. In fact, unless you have a great fish source, or you harvested them yourself, there's a very good chance that your scallops had been frozen and thawed before you bought them.

I've always been advised not to re-freeze something that has been frozen already, for health reasons, and shellfish seems to raise an even louder alarm. To what extent are these health and safety "rules" at worst, myths, or at best, overly cautious?

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Some scallops are treated with Sodium Triphosphate which aids water retention, allowing retailers to sell more scallop for the same price.

Them bastids!! :angry:

Thanks. Now I know what to say to the fishmonger when my scallops are sliding around in frothy muck....

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Your not meant to refreeze not because of health, but for quality. Every time you freeze, the ice-crystals make tiny punctures in the cell walls. If you freeze too many times, all the liquids from the cells will leak out.

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If they are "wet scallops" (treated with chemical) will it say so on the bag?

 

Based on my experience and research, the bag will say "dry packed" or something like that if the scallops haven't been soaked. If it doesn't say that, they're probably "wet." Also, wet scallops will be pure white; dry scallops generally vary in color from off-white to pinkish to almost beige. Here's a good picture illustrating the difference.

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If they are "wet scallops" (treated with chemical) will it say so on the bag?

Yes, look for sodium tripolyphosphate in the ingredient list.  

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