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TJ's Frozen Scallops-What am I doing wrong?

I purchsed a package of Frozen Wild Jumbo Scallops from Trader Joe's, hoping to add scallops to our cooking repetoire along with frozen shrimp that we use regularly.

I defrosted the scallops by soaking them in warm water -- like I do with shrimp, patted them dry once defrosted, then sliced them in half, drizzeled them with olive oil, added salt and pepper, then put them on the grill. We grilled them about 3-4 min on each side.

They turned out awful. They were dry and chewy.

How have you used frozen scallops with success?

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  1. I'm not too familiar with the size of the frozen scallops at TJ, but maybe 3-4 minutes per side on the grill was just too long? Scallops are so easy to overcook and then they get very chewy. Usually, I cook them until they are not quite cooked in the middle and pull them off the pan.

    Did you use the whole package of scallops? Maybe you could try some of the rest with a quicker cooking time?

    1. Three to four minutes a side sounds excessive. Can you imagine if you did that to shrimp? They would also be tough and chewy. I think 15-30 seconds per side might work better.

      I assume you soaked the bag in warm water, not the scallops themselves? If you soak the seafood itself, I would think you would leach away the small flavor they have.

      Just my guess.

      1. First, I never use warm water to defrost, only cold and then not directly. Second, they need to be very dry before cooking. Finally, it's my guess 3-4 minutes per side may be too long, especially over high heat.

        1. Seafood should never be defrosted in water, especially warm water. It ruins the texture and taste. Scallops are especially sensitive to water. You'll notice an improvement in your shrimp if you change methods as well.

          If you must defrost quickly, use cold running water only. For best texture and flavor they should be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator.

          1. Not sure how you cut them in half, but leaving them whole would have been a little better. I have never grilled scallops before outside (be afraid of losing them thru the grill!), but I'm with the posters who thought 3-4 minutes per side was too long. Maybe indirect heat would have worked better (coals banked at the sides, pan of water underneath the center, keep your seafood at the center over the pan).