Soft, succulent, and sweet pan-fried scallops are one of the simplest seafood dishes you can make. Just a dab of butter and some salt and you can cook scallops in 10 minutes or less.
But what if you don’t have 10 minutes to spare? Many types of seafood that can be eaten raw. Are scallops one of them?
It is perfectly safe to eat raw scallops. Make sure you don’t eat store-bought raw scallops, though – it’s much safer to purchase them from a farmer’s market.
Raw-safe scallops are small, compared to store-bought scallops, which are large and filled with preservatives and water.
Is Eating Raw Scallops Safe?
Eating raw seafood is generally not a good idea unless it is cut or harvested in a way that makes it safe to eat uncooked. This is why you cannot carve a filet of tuna or salmon from the grocery store and make your own sushi.
Fish sold to become part of a sushi platter are cut and processed a certain way that store-bought salmon and tuna is not.
The same can be said for scallops. Scallops are safe to eat raw, but you can’t go to your local grocery store’s freezer aisle, buy a frozen pack of scallops, and eat them like Oreos.
Scallops that are safe to eat raw have to be incredibly fresh. How fresh, you may ask?
To eat raw scallops, the scallop must be harvested on the day you eat it or the day before.
Waiting two days to eat a scallop raw is not recommended, and if it’s been three days since it was last harvested, it’s better to fry it in a frying pan with some butter to avoid food poisoning.
Are Scallops Served Raw in Sushi?
Although not very common, there are recipes for raw scallop sushi online. There is also raw scallop sushi available to order at higher end restaurants.
Many of these restaurants are located by the seaside and have scallops available for a limited time.
Do Scallops Have to Be Fully Cooked?
No, scallops do not have to be fully cooked if you do choose to cook them. Scallops are safe to eat if they are medium rare. Even if the scallop was harvested on that day, it should still be cooked to medium rare or well-done.
Scallops are incredibly easy to cook. Just follow these steps to eat incredibly delicious pan-fried scallops:
- All you need to do is take the scallops out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit on the counter for about 20 minutes. The scallops do not have to reach room temperature, but allowing them to warm will make it easier to develop a crispy top and bottom during the frying process.
- As they acclimate to the room’s temperature, gently dab the scallops with a paper towel to remove extra moisture.
- Using your fingers, search for the small muscular ligaments on the side of the scallops. Remove them if the muscles are still intact. They are edible, but the muscle can toughen during the cooking process.
- Now, season them with salt and pepper, paprika, and parmesan.
- Then, when 20 minutes are up, just place a bit of butter or olive oil in the pan and allow it to warm up for a minute.
- Gently place the scallop in the oil. You should hear the oil sizzle when the meat of the scallop comes into contact with the pan.
- Cook the scallop for three minutes and baste the scallop over and over in butter or a pan sauce as it cooks. Flip the scallop and cook that side for two minutes, also while continually basting.
- After 5 or 6 minutes, the scallops should be fully cooked and ready to plate. Savor the buttery, sweet, and crispy scallops with a glass of white wine.
Can You Eat Scallops That Are Cooked Rare?
So eating raw scallops is fine, as long as the scallop was harvested within a 24 hours time period by a local fisherman. So does that also mean it is safe to eat a scallop cooked rare? What is the difference between raw and rare?
You may have heard these terms when ordering a steak or beef hamburger. A rare steak is a steak that has been cooked, but it’s still quite red and bloody in the middle.
A raw steak is a steak that still needs to be dried, seasoned, and cooked before it can be eaten.
We do not recommend eating rare scallops, especially scallops purchased from the grocery store. Cook all scallops thoroughly if you purchase them this way.
It is fine to cook scallops until they are medium rare, but not rare. Plus, it is not worth the effort to cook a scallop.
Because scallops are delicate and light, they only take about two to three minutes to cook on each side. Any longer and the scallop will become tough.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Undercooked Scallops?
You can get sick from eating undercooked scallops. But eating an undercooked scallop should not be a concern. Most people do not undercook their scallops, they overcook them.
At most, a scallop cooks 3 minutes on each side. Some scallops are so light, the scallop will cook fully by frying it for 60 seconds on each side.
Unless you fry a scallop in a frying pan for 30 seconds and then take a big bite of it, eating an undercooked scallop should not be a concern.
How Long Can Raw Scallops Last in the Fridge?
If you plan to eat your scallops raw, then they should not see the inside of a refrigerator for over 24 hours. Remember, raw scallops must be eaten as soon as possible.
Do not place these raw scallops in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, as they will become slimy and unsafe to eat.
Scallops purchased from the grocery store will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Place them in the back of the fridge so they stay at a stable temperature.
However, if you don’t plan to cook your scallops on the day you remove them from the freezer, then there’s no need to take them out. Scallops thaw in about an hour, so you won’t have to wait long to fry them after taking them out of the freezer.
Conclusion to Eating Scallops Raw
If you want to eat raw scallops, you must eat one that was harvested by a local angler within 24 hours. Do not eat a store-bought scallop raw, as you will get food poisoning.
Frozen scallops take one hour to thaw at room temperature, so don’t take them out and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Raw scallop sushi is more likely to be found in higher end Japanese restaurants.