Scallops are such cute things. Bite-size and symmetrical, mild and sweet, velvety and dense. Granted, they're expensive. But for an occasional treat, a quick-fix company entree or a family occasion, scallops are worth having to eat less luxuriously the other six nights of the week.
According to "The California Seafood Cookbook" (Aris Books: $12.95), the scallop is the only free-swimming mollusk. In the United States, bay and sea scallops are available, but the larger sea scallop is the most widely available (especially in the West). Sea scallops have excellent flavor and texture and are suitable to a wider variety of cooking methods and ingredients than the tiny and more delicate bay scallops.
Put Them to the Test
The chance, if not obligation, to test this suitability came recently when someone showed up with more than five pounds of sea scallops given to her by a fishing friend.
We grilled some of them on skewers with butter and lime. We simply fried others, coating them in bread crumbs first, and we spiced others Sichuan style with a recipe from "The California Seafood Cookbook."