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The scallop has a reputation for being a difficult dish to prepare, even among professional chefs. Scallops are an elevated dish, not only because they test a cook’s true skills, but they also tend to be a costly ingredient. For these reasons, many home cooks have never considered preparing them at home. Yet, the perfectly prepared scallop is a simple dish. There’s no reason why any home cook or aspiring chef can’t master the art of cooking delicious scallops in the comfort of their own kitchen.

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1. What is a Scallop?

Scallops are seafood, but they aren’t fish. They are bivalve mollusks. Their shell is thin, lightweight, and fan-shaped, with scalloped edges. Each line on their shell indicates one year of growth. The edible part of the scallop is the adductor muscle, which helps the scallop open and close its shell. Other shellfish, such as oysters, mussels, and clams, use their abductor muscles to filter water which leaves them vulnerable to toxins and contaminants. Scallops don’t filter water with their adductor muscle. Pollutants found in their underwater environments don’t tarnish this mollusk. That’s why seafood connoisseurs say the scallop is one of the cleanest shellfish available.

scallops mollusks shell Brasil2 / Getty Images
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