The Secret to Perfectly Seared Scallops

March 13, 2019
| Created by Hannah Langley, MS, RDN, CD

When you head to the grocery store to buy scallops, do you know what you’re purchasing? Generally speaking, there are two types of scallop products available: “wet packed” and “dry packed.” Harmons seafood departments only sell dry packed scallops and we are passionate about why! Not only do dry scallops deliver a better eating experience (by far!), they are also healthier. Read below to learn why Harmons chefs and dietitians choose Harmons dry packed sea scallops:

Wet Scallops

Dry Scallops

Are treated with a sodium solution to lengthen shelf life


Are not treated with solutions of any kind

When cooked, the solution leaks out (inhibiting that beautiful brown crust you were going for)


Cooking causes minimal water loss allowing for a delicious, brown crust

Solution makes the texture rubbery after cooking


Texture is tender and delicate

Solution masks the already mild flavor


Flavor is sweet and mild

Have excess water weight, which means you pay for added water


Since no water is added, price per pound actually reflects true product weight

Have about 440mg sodium per 4 oz. serving

Contain just 182mg sodium per 4 oz. serving







Tip: How can you tell if a scallop is wet or dry?

Look at the color. Wet scallops will look pure white – like a sheet of paper. Dry scallops are milky, off-white – like a pearl. Are your scallops frozen? This is also an indicator that they are likely wet pack. It’s very rare to find a frozen, “dry” scallop. Also, be sure to ask your fish monger. A knowledgeable person will know what type of product they are selling.

Ready for that perfect, brown crust?

Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat your pan over high heat and use an appropriate high-heat fat (like canola, grapeseed or avocado oil). Once oil is very hot, sear the scallops on first side for 1-2 minutes (don’t move them, just let them cook). Cook on second side for another 1-2 minutes without moving. During the last minute, you can add a little butter and garlic to the pan if desired. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon.