air fryer scallops with remoulade sauce

PHOTO: ERIK BERNSTEIN; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

Who said you need a special occasion to eat scallops? Not us. These air-fried scallops are the perfect way to get a crispy fried treat anytime, without any hot oil hassle. Pan-fried scallops are known for their signature top crust and buttery-tender texture. We breaded these in crispy panko tossed with melted butter to achieve the same vibe in an air fryer instead of in a super-hot skillet. The result is juicy, crisp, and perfectly tender air fryer scallops with a dash of spice from seafood’s best friend: Old Bay seasoning. And don’t forget the remoulade!

Scallops 101

– Dry sea scallops are an absolute must-have for this recipe. And not just patted dry; we’re talking shipped and packaged dry too. “Wet” scallops are soaked in a water and sodium tripolyphosphate solution for preservation after harvesting. They’re typically cheaper and can be found frozen and thawed. Unfortunately, wet scallops (intentionally) retained a lot of water, making them almost impossible to air fry without making the breading super soggy. Dry scallops can be found fresh or frozen and have a meatier bite. They’ll feel slightly ticky to the touch, even before patting dry with a paper towel. If you’re not sure what kind your supermarket has, ask someone at the seafood counter for help. trust us; it’s worth the social interaction.

– Before patting dry, be sure to remove the small muscle from the side of the scallop. Then, feel free to discard or freeze for seafood stock. The muscle may have already been removed.

– Each scallop should be about 1 ounce to ensure they will cook evenly. If you have some scallops on the smaller side, cook them all in the same batch, separate from any larger ones, and adjust the cooking time by about a minute.

Air fryer tips

– Almost anything breaded and fried will benefit from chill time in the refrigerator. These scallops are no different. After breading, popping them in the oven for a quick 20 minutes will allow the breading to stick and stay stuck after frying. Set the scallops on a paper towel-lined plate to wick away any excess moisture.

– Fight the urge to spray your air fryer with a non-stick aerosol spray. Many air fryers have a manufacturer’s recommendation not to use aerosol sprays at the risk of causing the non-stick coating to peel off. Instead, brush the surface of the air fryer basket with neutral oil.

Uses for fried scallops

We’re excited to pile these fried scallops onto a French roll with lettuce and tomatoes to make a scallop po’boy. But they would also be fantastic served with all of the sides that fried seafood loves: double-fried french fries, coleslaw, hush puppies, or potato salad. Like all fried foods, these are best eaten fresh. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in the air fryer at 390° and heat through, about 2-3 minutes.

Made these? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!

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Yields:

4


servings

Prep time:

0

hours

20

mins

Total Time:

0

hours

45

mins

For the Scallops

1 c.

seasoned panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp.

Old Bay or Cajun seasoning

1


lemon, cut into wedges for serving

For the Remoulade Sauce

1 tbsp.

Louisiana-style hot sauce (Louisiana, Frank’s, Tobasco, Crystal, etc.)

1


scallion, thinly sliced

1


clove garlic, grated or minced

1 tsp.

Old Bay or Cajun seasoning

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  1. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and Old Bay until well combined. Drizzle in melted butter, gently tossing the panko with a fork to evenly incorporate the butter.
  2. Pat the scallops dry and season all over with 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in shallow bowls to create a dredge station. Coat a scallop in flour and tap off any excess. Then coat in the egg, then finally in the panko mixture. (Work with one dry hand and one wet hand to avoid extra mess.) Press the panko mixture into the scallop to ensure it adheres, and place it onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining scallops. Place scallops in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Meanwhile, make the remoulade: In a small bowl, combine all of the remoulade ingredients and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Brush the surface of the air fryer basket with neutral oil and set the air fryer to 390°. Remove scallops from the refrigerator and check the breading for any wet spots. If there are wet spots, pat them gently with a bit of the panko mixture. Arrange half of the scallops in the air fryer basket so that none are touching, and cook for 3 minutes. Using tongs or a flexible spatula, gently flip each scallop and cook for an additional 3 minutes. The panko breading should be golden brown and feel crisp to the touch. Repeat with the remaining half. Serve immediately with remoulade and a lemon wedge.

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air fryer scallops

PHOTO: ERIK BERNSTEIN; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

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