The way to catch rock scallops is to find them and pry them off a rock, quite simply. The depths range from 5 feet deep to sometimes we pry them off of some good spots freediving at 75 + feet, which makes for a very good workout. These areas have little pressure and large scallops.
Our rock scallops on the west coast have a different water content than the east coast diver scallops. I noticed this the first few times I tried to sear them to caramelize the outside. But they came out extremely tough, even after letting them “rest” for a few days and have the proteins break down a little. My favorite way to eat the scallops is right out of the shell in the water 🙂 . Freshly pried from the rock, the brininess of the seawater is delicious and the scallops are inherently sweet- no need to add salt, but at second best they’re fantastic in ceviche or raw with a little heat from serrano, habanero, or jalapeno. Sriracha is the world’s greatest hot sauce, so that’s an option, too, and considering the guy(owner, legend has it) used to sell sriracha out of his trunk? #Respect
With most seafood, I don’t clean with freshwater, but prefer to clean with saltwater with similar salinity that the seafood lives in. After the cleaning of the skirt, the abductor muscle, etc, You can reserve the roe and the skirt and make a scallop stock. carrot, celery, leek, and basic fish stock along with some scallop skirts cooked in after the mire poix. The scallop trimmings are full of flavor, so don’t throw them away if you catch (or buy scallops whole). The latter are prohibitively expensive at our neighborhood fishmarkets, about $8 a pound wholesale… with each scallop in the shell weighing approximately $8. Food to come!