Hey there, seafood lover! Today, we'll be discussing one of the tastiest seafood items out there: scallops! So what are scallops?
Scallops are a type of shellfish that is popular in the United States. They are considered a delicacy and can be found in seafood restaurants all over the country.
Scallops are typically white or light pink and have a slightly sweet flavor. Their soft, delicate texture makes them pair well with various accompaniments such as vegetables, rice, and pasta.
Best of all, they are high in protein and low in calories, making them a healthy choice for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Follow along as we explore everything there is to know about scallops, from their appearance and taste to the best ways to cook them.
What Are Scallops?
Scallops are a type of shellfish that is found in both fresh and saltwater. They are classified as bivalves, which means they have two shells connected by a hinge. The meat of the scallop is located in the large adductor muscle, which is what allows the scallop to open and close its shell.
You can read more about Bivalvia, on Wikipedia.
Scallops are a popular seafood choice because they are relatively easy to prepare and cook and have a delicate, sweet flavor. They can be eaten raw, grilled, baked, or pan-fried and are often served as an appetizer or main course.
Scallops are harvested worldwide, but the majority come from Japan, China, and Korea. In terms of flavor, scallops are sweet and delicate with a slightly nutty flavor.
Types Of Scallops
There are two main types of scallops: bay scallops and sea scallops.
Bay scallop is the most popular type of scallop, which is named for the area where it is commonly found - The Bay of Fundy in Canada. Bay scallops are small, averaging about an inch and a half in diameter. They have a sweet flavor and tender texture.
Sea scallops are the second type of scallop, named for their habitat (the open sea). Sea scallops are large, averaging about three inches in diameter. They have a firm texture and slightly sweet flavor.
Other popular varieties include the calico scallop, sea scallop, and giant scallop. Scallops are typically sold fresh, frozen, or canned.
Where Are Scallops Found?
Bay scallops are found in the shallow waters of the bays, estuaries, and inlets along the East Coast of the United States.
Sea scallops are found in deeper waters off the coasts of Canada and New England.
The vast majority of scallops consumed in the United States are harvested off the East Coast, primarily in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A smaller portion of U.S. scallops come from California and Oregon. The largest harvesting areas for scallops globally are China and Japan.
Most of the scallops consumed in these countries are small bay scallops. The United Kingdom, Iceland, and Scandinavia are also major scallop consumers and producers.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Scallops?
1. Scallops are an excellent source of protein, providing more than 20 grams per 3-ounce serving.
2. They're also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including selenium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12. To learn more about vitamins, I suggest reading Vitamins: How They Work And Their Sources.
3. Scallops contain very little fat and no carbohydrates.
4. They also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which help support heart health and boost the immune system. For recipes that refer to antioxidants, I suggest checking out these products; The Best Ten Antioxidant Recipe Items.
5. A three-ounce serving of cooked scallops contains only about 90 calories, making it a very low-calorie seafood option. This same serving size provides more than 20 grams of protein, about 40 percent of the daily value.
Whether you prefer them grilled, roasted, baked, or sautéed, scallops make a nutrient-packed addition to any meal.
What Do Scallops Look Like?
Scallops are small, mollusk-like creatures with smooth, round shells and frilly, fan-shaped wings. They typically have a single main muscle that runs down the center of their body and is used to move the animal both forward and back.
Scallops can often be found feasting on plankton or algae on the shallow ocean floor, where they are commonly harvested for food. They are also quite beautiful, with bright, iridescent colors that shimmer in the water. Scallops are indeed a marvel of nature with their distinctive appearance and interesting behaviors.
How Are Scallops Harvested?
Scallops are typically harvested using a dredge; a large net towed behind a boat. The dredge collects the scallops and any other creatures that happen to be in its path. The scallops are then brought to the surface and sorted through, with the edible ones being kept, and the rest is discarded.
How To Cook Scallops
Scallops can be cooked in various ways, including baking, broiling, sautéing, and grilling.
When cooking scallops, it's essential to start with fresh, high-quality seafood. Make sure you get dry scallops, as they have a higher flavor concentration. Avoid wet scallops, as they've been soaked in a chemical solution that gives them a longer shelf life but can also make them taste more like fish.
If you can, get your scallops from a local fishmonger or supplier. If not, make sure to check the expiration date on the package and look for scallops that are plump and have a pinkish color. Avoid scallops that are significantly discolored or have an off odor.
It is also important not to overcook them, as they will quickly become tough and rubbery. For perfectly cooked scallops, aim for an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you have your fresh scallops, it's time to prepare them for cooking. And if you're not sure where to find some scallops, we recommend these products;
Step One: Rinse
Rinse the scallops in cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Step Two: Remove Muscle
Remove the small side muscle from each scallop, as this can give the seafood an unpleasant chewiness.
Step Three: Season
Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.
Step Four: Cook
Now it's time to cook the scallops. One of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare scallops is to pan-sear them. Simply heat some oil in a hot pan over medium-high heat and cook the scallops for two to three minutes per side.
They should be golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside while remaining tender and moist on the inside.
Serve the scallops with a simple sauce or your favorite sides.
What Does A Scallop Taste Like?
The taste of a scallop can vary widely depending on your cooking method. If you pan-fry it with a bit of butter and seasonings, you'll get a crispy, savory crust with a tender, succulent interior.
Alternatively, if you grill the scallops and baste them with a fruity sauce or glaze, you'll encounter a slightly smoky flavor offset by the sweetness of the coating. No matter how you prepare it, though, one thing is clear: the wonderful texture of a scallop is sure to leave your taste buds wanting more!
So what are you waiting for? Head to your local seafood market and give this delicious treat a try!
Now that you know all about scallops, it's time to get cooking! Here are five of our favorite scallop recipes:
Scallop and Bacon Skewers
These skewers are perfect for a summertime barbecue. To make them, simply alternate pieces of scallop and bacon on a skewer, then grill for about 10 minutes. The scallops will be tender and juicy, with a crispy outer edge from the bacon.
You can serve them as is, with a dipping sauce on the side, or garnish with fresh herbs or a zesty salsa. Either way, these skewers are sure to be a hit!
This refreshing ceviche is perfect for a light summer meal. Combine diced scallops with chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to allow the scallops to "cook" in the acidity of the lime juice.
Serve chilled with tortilla chips.
You can eat the ceviche on its own for a quick and easy snack or serve it over rice or quinoa for a heartier meal. And if you want to add even more flavor and texture to your scallop ceviche, try topping it with some sliced avocado or chopped nuts.
Pan-Seared Scallops with Creamy Polenta
If you're looking for a special occasion meal that's sure to impress, look no further than pan-seared scallops with creamy polenta. This dish is elegant and flavorful yet surprisingly easy to prepare.
- Start by cooking the polenta according to the package directions. While the polenta is cooking, season the scallops with salt and pepper(preferably fresh ground black pepper).
- Then, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
- Remove them from the skillet once the scallops are cooked and set them aside.
- Add the garlic and shallots to the same skillet and cook until softened.
- Then, add the white wine and cook until reduced by half.
- Finally, add the heavy cream and bring it to a simmer.
- Spoon the sauce over the scallops and polenta, and garnish with parsley before serving.
Try this recipe for with creamy polenta for a heartier meal. The scallops are cooked the same way as in the previous recipe, but they are served over a bed of creamy polenta instead of plain rice.
Scallop and Arugula Salad
This salad is a great way to use up any leftover scallops. Simply combine cooked scallops with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and your favorite vinaigrette.
This creamy risotto is the perfect comfort food. It is made with Arborio rice, chicken broth, white wine, and Parmesan cheese.
Be sure to add the scallops in during the last few minutes of cooking, so they don't overcook.
As you can see, scallops are versatile seafood that can be used in many different dishes. Whether you're looking for a quick and easy meal or something a little fancier, scallops will please.
So next time you're at the market, pick up some scallops and give them a try. You won't be disappointed!
What's your favorite way to eat scallops? Let us know in the comments below!
What do scallops taste like?
Scallops have a delicate, sweet flavor with a slightly salty taste. When cooked properly, they should be tender and moist on the inside with a slightly crisp exterior. The scallops develop a somewhat nutty flavor from the browning process when pan-seared.
What is the best way to cook scallops?
Scallops can be cooked in various ways, but the most popular methods are pan-searing, baking, and grilling. Pan-searing is a quick and easy way to cook scallops, and it results in a beautiful sear on the outside of the seafood while keeping the inside nice and tender.
Where do scallops come from?
Scallops are a type of shellfish found in both fresh and saltwater. They are native to areas worldwide, including Australia, Asia, and North America.