How to Cook Scallops on the Grill

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Scallops are mollusks that live on the ocean floor. According to the University of Delaware, scallops have a distinctive shell with scalloped edges, although they are usually sold already shucked. You can purchase sea scallops fresh or frozen. Expect to get between 20 and 40 scallops per pound. Good scallops should not have a strong smell and will never smell fishy. Grilling is a great way to cook scallops, just avoid overcooking them--they will become tough and chewy if you do.

Things You'll Need

  • Gas or charcoal grill
  • Paper towels
  • Metal skewers
  • Olive oil
  • Bowl and measuring spoons
  • Cooking brush
  • Sea salt, pepper and other seasonings
  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil
  • Grill brush

Fire up your grill. Adjust the coals or gas to medium heat to avoid burning the delicate scallops.

Rinse the scallops well with cool water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Thread the scallops on metal skewers, placing three to four large scallops on each skewer.

Pour several tablespoons of olive oil into a small bowl. Use about 2 tbsp. of oil per pound of scallops.

Dip a cooking brush in the olive oil and brush the oil liberally over the skewered scallops. Turn the skewers to coat all sides of the scallops.

Sprinkle the scallops with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add any other seasonings you desire. Lemon pepper, garlic powder, oregano and thyme are good accompaniments for scallops.

Lightly spray your grill with cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.

Place the scallop skewers on the grill and cook for three to four minutes. Turn the scallops over and cook for an additional three to four minutes or until the scallops are opaque and lightly golden. Be careful handling the skewers--they will be hot.

Remove the scallops from the skewers and serve immediately. Grilled scallops will make a delicious meal alongside grilled vegetables and some type of grain like couscous, orzo or brown rice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look for scallops in your grocery store that have been dry packed. According to Julianne Glatz at the Illinois Times, dry-packed scallops have not been shipped in a wet preservative and will taste fresher than wet-packed scallops.
  • The Environmental Defense Fund recommends that consumers avoid consuming calico or bay scallops because this species is depleted (see Resources). Bay scallops that are farmed in China or elsewhere are the most environmentally-friendly.
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