In classic French cooking, scallops are generally served in one of the following ways:
- Poached — Carefully rinse shucked scallops and pat dry. Heat butter and diced shallot in a poêle over medium–high heat. Add white wine, fish stock (fumet), and a bouquet garni and bring to a simmer. Poach for 2 to 4 minutes, depending upon size. Do not overcook or the scallops will toughen. Scallops may also be poached in heavy cream in the same manner, replacing the wine with heavy cream.
- Sautéed — Season the shucked scallops (and their coral, or roe, if any) with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat an equal portion of vegetable oil and butter in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the scallops, without crowding the pan, and sauté for about 2 to 4 minutes, depending upon size, until golden brown, taking care not to burn the cooking oil. Do not overcook or the scallops will toughen. Variations to the basic sauté are bordelaise, sautéed with diced shallots, and Provençale, sautéed with a persillade (a ground mixture of garlic, shallots, and parsley), and optional breadcrumbs.
- Grilled — The shucked scallops are placed on skewers to make brochettes, alternately with other shellfish, if desired. The brochettes are marinated in a mixture of vegetable oil, lemon juice, and fresh thyme and grilled.