A large percentage of the scallops available to consumers in this country have been soaked in a solution containing sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), which causes the scallops to absorb and retain moisture. For this reason, scallops containing STPP are known in the industry as “wet” while those without additives are marketed as “dry.”
A Simple Test to See If Your Scallops Are Chemically Treated
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.
Buying “wet” scallops come with several downsides. For one thing, you’ll be paying for about 14 percent additional water weight. We have also found that STPP-treated scallops cook up with washed-out, slightly off flavor, and a bouncy texture. Finally, STPP scallops shed about 25 percent more moisture during cooking than dry scallops. The liquid releases into the skillet, dropping the temperature and preventing browning.
A Simple Test to Find Out if Your Scallops are “Wet” or “Dry”
If you are unsure whether your scallops are wet or dry, conduct this quick test: Place 1 scallop on a paper towel-lined, microwave-safe plate and microwave on high power for 15 seconds. If the scallop is “dry,” it will exude very little water. If it is “wet,” there will be a sizable ring of moisture on the paper towel. (The microwaved scallop can be cooked as is.)
Camouflaging the Disagreeable Flavor in “Wet” Scallops
It’s not possible to remove the excess water from STTP-treated scallops, but you can camouflage the off-flavor of the chemical with the following simple lemon brine.
Soak 1 1/2 pounds of scallops in a solution of 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt for 30 minutes. Pat the scallops dry and proceed with your recipe.
Start Free Trial
10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients Equipment Reviews save you money and time Videos including full episodes and clips Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.