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Scallops are typically served at high-end restaurants (with a high-end price tag to match). But we’ll share a little secret: They’re actually really easy to cook at home. They take about five minutes max if you know how to cook and prepare them. Here, a few tips and recipes to get you started.

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pan seared scallops
Getty Images/LauriPatterson

The Best Way to Prepare and Cook Scallops

1. What you buy matters. Look for scallops that are evenly white with firm, slightly damp flesh. We prefer additive-free dry scallops. The other common variety, wet scallops, are soaked in a preservative and don’t brown as well in your skillet. And by all means, if you happen to spot bay scallops, snap them up. They’re rare, but small, sweet and tender.

2. Clean them first. Give the scallops a quick rinse under cool water and check that the side-muscle isn’t attached. It won’t always be there, but if it is, it looks like a little rectangular tag on the side of the scallop. Gently peel it off and discard.

3. Butter is best. There are lots of ways to cook scallops, from poaching to grilling, but our favorite way is to cook them in a skillet—with plenty of butter. This makes for a crispy exterior and juicy inside. Swoon. First, blot each scallop dry with paper towels. Heat the skillet over high heat and swirl a pat of butter until it melts. Add several scallops, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook for a couple minutes undisturbed. Before flipping, prod a scallop with your spatula. If it releases from the pan, it’s ready to turn over. Flip, add some extra butter for good measure, and cook for about two more minutes.

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