Master the basics of this tasty shellfish, from their habitat to what they look like and most essentially: the best ways to prepare them.
Before we start throwing these yummy bivalves on the grill or making the flawless pan sear, I suggest you spend some time learning the basics of scallops, both the two kinds of scallops(bay and sea).
And later, we can share our recipes with you, but only after you are well aware of where these tasty scallops come from and their season.
What Are Scallops?
Scallops are a kind of bivalve mollusk, which means the muscle inside is totally confined by two shells, just like that of oysters, mussels, and even clams. Inside the shell, scallops contain a white adductor muscle, which is the part we eat. That part opens and closes the shell as well, remember the bright orange section, known as the coral, which is eatable but not by many people, especially in the U.S.
The muscle is circular and so sort when cooked with the touch of both sweetness and briny saltiness. So basically, there are two types of scallops, they are Bay scallops and sea scallops. The bay kinds are the smaller kind of scallops (just about the size of a dime) and much softer, while the other kind, which is the sea scallops, they way larger than bay scallops, growing as large as two inches.
What Do Scallops Look Like?
If you wish to identify a scallop, you must know that the shell of a scallop has the quality fanned out the shape so symbolic of maritime décor. But I must warn you, dissimilar to their other bivalve buddies, scallops can swim across the ocean floor so very fast just by clapping their shells collectively. This shellfish also have dazzling blue eyes.
Yes, they do have eyes, they possess maybe about 50 to 100 eyes, which are very small and are bead-like in shape, which is located at the side of their shell’s opening, and with this, they can probe light, dark, and even motion. They also make use of their retinas to give attention to light, just like that of humans.
Where Do Scallops Come From?
Bay scallops are commonly discovered in bays, estuaries, and shallow waters on the East Coast, living in a place full of seagrasses. Many scallops devoured in the U.S. are brought from China and Mexico, as their domestic populations have decreased in recent years. The efforts to revitalize the population of Chesapeake Bay scallops by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and founders of Rappahannock Oyster Company have shown a really great commitment.
In 2017, they imported 400,000 scallop seeds from Falmouth, Massachusetts, and purified their grow-out methods for commercial gain. So you can also go for these smaller mollusks in Northwest Florida from July to early October.
While Sea scallops are discovered in deep, cold ocean waters, about 200 meters deep and around the world, in the U.S., they are commonly caught in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, from Newfoundland to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. So now, let’s get to how these scallops are harvested.
How are scallops harvested?
The best place to find scallops is a water depth that is usually 4 – 8 feet. Next, search for bright water with sea-grass beds. Finally, you will discover scallops at the edges of the sandy spots or even maybe in the sea-grass.
Normally, they are the easiest to find in the region where the sand bottom joins with the edge of the seagrasses. Although these shellfish might try swimming away as fast as possible, they do not swim that fast, so they don’t get very far when they try.
Many people scallop from their boat, making use of a snorkel, fins, and mask. All they need to do is anchor the boat, then put up their dive flag and snorkel over the beds, gathering the scallops either by hand or a small dip net. Another important piece of equipment is a mesh bag which you can use to store your scallops, although you are underwater collecting as scallops can sometimes pinch.
When you retreat to your boat, You should instantly place the scallops you are collected in a live well. If you don’t own a live well, you can make use of a cooler containing ice; by doing this, you know they won’t die because scallops are very responsive to temperature and may quickly die if not kept cool, also allowing fresh water to get into their shells will also cause them.
The perfect solution is to store scallops in a live well while on the water and later place the scallops on ice just before cleaning. Placing them on ice makes them a lot easier to open because the muscle that grips the shells together loses.
In addition, you can now use a knife to open the shells; even a teaspoon can cut the white muscle free, disposing of the shells and other unwanted soft parts.
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How to Cook Scallops
The best procedure you can use to cook scallops, which you know with no doubt would come out looking and tasting good, is by searing; it is much more delicious when you sear than baking, grilling, or even boiling them.
You are not required to add much element because this shellfish we talk about already has a good flavor. However, if you want your scallop to taste different, the good kind of different though, annex two or three-element to make them taste richer.
Below you would find a few ways you can make your scallops even more wonderful:
I guarantee that you taking these procedures would help you in preparing the tastiest scallop known to man-kind; as said earlier, scallops don’t need much ingredients or seasoning because of their own sweet flavor, all you need to add is just these two essential ingredients, which are pepper and salt to make the flavor more prominent.
Using bacon would give you a huge smoky and powerful savory taste, which tastes better when paired with scallops encouraging the yummy and exquisite taste of the scallop.
And yes, I know I mentioned the best method to make scallops is to sear, but there are other good methods like deep-frying which makes the chewy and soft meat change into an awesome crispy outer layer. The deviation in the texture also adds to the tastiness.
The Different Types of Scallops
Scallops are of three types; they include sea scallops, calico scallops, and bay scallops. The most common and normal kind of scallops is non-other than the sea scallop. They are obtainable everywhere, any day, any time, and this particular kind of scallops can grow up to 2 inches in diameter.
Now the bay scallops are the wild kind of scallops, and they are scarce. They are only available from October to March because these scallops migrate or, better still, change their environment from April to September. And guess what, they are the sweetest among all the scallops.
Calico scallops are highly demanded and consumed during the season from December to May. The shells are the most unique and beautiful among the three types of scallops, and the disadvantage of this scallop is that its sweet flavor is much lesser than the others.
I’m sure with the words written above, you know what scallops are, where they come from, how they are harvested, the three kinds of scallops, and most importantly, how they are cooked, so go and explore all that you’ve learned.
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