This article in The Scotsman refers to the size of scallops. Kings are six inches across at the shell; queens about half that. Princess size are even smaller.
If ... you prefer to buy scallops already opened, look for firm white flesh with a bright pinky-orange coral. Avoid frozen scallops if at all possible, as these invariably have a very high ice content. This means that, although they look large, once defrosted you can end up with just over half the original weight of scallop flesh. Frozen scallops also tend to stick to the pan and shrivel up as they cook.
Also, scallops (and indeed, any dead sea creature) will never be more tender than they are when they emerge from the shell. Avoid overcooking at all costs.
SCALLOPS IN OATMEAL
6 plump fresh scallops, trimmed and with the corals cut off
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
75g medium oatmeal
Dip the scallops in the egg, then coat in oatmeal. Chill for an hour or so, and then re-dip in egg and re-coat in oatmeal. Again, leave them to chill.
Remove the scallops from the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before you cook them, to let them reach room temperature.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until medium hot, then fry the scallops until just done: two to three minutes on each side. Serve them piping hot, with a dollop of salsa verde and good bread.
SCALLOP AND BLACK PUDDING SALAD AND RED PEPPER SAUCE
This is adapted from a recipe from a buzzing new Edinburgh restaurant, The Snug, in Stockbridge.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 red peppers, seeded and sliced
6 thin slices Stornoway black pudding
2-3 sticks celery, diced
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
mixed salad leaves
1 granny smith apple, sliced
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add the garlic and peppers and cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes. Leave the peppers to cool, then liquidise them and season to taste.
Grill the black pudding until it is crispy. Sauté the celery and dill for two to three minutes in a little oil, then season with salt. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Now heat the pan to high and lightly oil it. Add the scallops and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
Arrange the salad leaves on large plates and lay on the apple slices. Top each of these with a slice of black pudding and then a scallop. Sprinkle over the celery and dill, and then drizzle with some red pepper sauce. Season with black pepper and serve.
MEXICAN CEVICHE OF SCALLOPS
6 large, fresh scallops
juice of 2 limes (2 tbsp)
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
blue corn tortilla chips
First cut the scallops thinly into about four slices (remove the coral if you prefer). Place in a non-metallic bowl with the lime juice and the ginger. Stir gently and leave to marinate at room temperature for 25 to 30 minutes.
Combine the remaining ingredients and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Drain the liquid from the scallops and discard it. Add the scallops to the tomato mixture and turn gently, taking care not to break up the scallops.
Place a bed of lettuce in a shallow bowl, then tip the scallop mixture on top. (This dish can now be kept, loosely covered, for about an hour.) Serve with a large bowl of blue corn tortilla chips.