Why is it that sometimes scallops and shrimp are soooo good and other times they are not? Have eaten scallops that are spongy or don't sear nicely when you cook them? What about shrimp? Do you sometimes find that the shrimp you are eating lack firmness or seem slimy? Let's talk about why.
For scallops it is the different between a "wet" and "dry" scallop.
Wet scallops are soaked in a phosphate bath (sodium tripolyphosphate), which essentially adds water weight. Not only does it change the consistency of the scallop but at check out you are paying for the water that the scallops absorbs. They are low quality.
Dry scallops are "natural" scallops, and contains the scallop and only the scallop. These are high quality and delicious! When you buy dry scallops their color will be a "vanilla color", slightly tan versus wet scallops which are pure white.
Same goes with shrimp. "natural" shrimp have a nice firm consistency, and a spring to them. They process a rich flavor and a crunchy texture. Shrimp that have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphates can feel slimy and soft. I like to say that they lack integrity.
What should you do to make sure you are getting "the good stuff", quality seafood? When buying scallops or shrimp, check the label (see photo), it should just list the seafood you are buying, no other ingredients. You can also have a conversation with your fish monger so you know exactly what you are buying from them.
When you go to a restaurant, you can ask your server. Unfortunately, this is hit or miss because, the server does not always understand the question or know the difference.
By the way, another reason to know if your seafood contains sodium tripolyphosphate is because there is some question on what levels are safe to ingest. Eating clean does not include eating sodium tripolyphosphate.