When shopping for sea or bay scallops to use for recipes, look for "dry-packed" scallops. These have been shucked and shipped packed on ice, with no chemical additives. They tend to have a slightly pink or off-white hue and a pleasant sea smell. Avoid the very white "wet-packed" scallops that are sold in many supermarkets. These have been soaked in a solution containing phosphate, a whitening agent that keeps them fresh longer but also allows them to soak up more water, increasing their weight by almost 30 percent. They tend to release a lot of liquid when they're cooked, causing them to steam rather than sear to a nice caramelized crust. Phosphate also gives the scallops a slightly soapy flavor.
Scallop prep Sea scallops often come with their tough adductor muscle still attached. to remove it, just gently pull it off--no knife necessary. On bay scallops, this muscle is so small that removing it is optional.