Scallops

SCALLOPS

Opening and cleaning.

Opening a scallop requires a short, sharp and stout knife and a live scallop. (As long as the shell is very tightly shut you can be fairly certain that it is alive). To open a scallop and clean it at the same time, hold the scallop in the flat of your left hand with the rounded half of the shell downwards and the hinge facing away from yourself. On the right of the hinge as you now view it where the shell begins to bulge there will be a slight gap between the two shells. Place the point of the knife (blade pointing away from you) in this gap and push the blade upwards and in towards the centre of the shell. Then keeping the blade pressed against the inside of the upper flat shell, cut through the adductor muscle where it joins the shell moving towards the hinge of the scallop. When the muscle is cut you will feel the two halves come apart.

In the same motion lift the flat shell upwards to reveal the contents (unfortunately you will probably see the muscle and other organs pulsating at this point). With one motion cut behind the testis and roe right around to the adductor muscle to separate the edible parts from the eyes, gills and mantle. Cut the bottom of the adductor away from the rounded half of the shell and you should be left with good edible parts. Discard everything else except the shell.

There will be a small dark tube (gut) around the rear edge of the adductor muscle which needs to be scraped away, as do any remaining bits of mantle or eye that are left. Then the scallop needs rinsing off in cold water and cooking as soon as is possible.

Remember that the shell can be used as well, so don’t discard it with the rest. The rounded half when cleaned out makes a perfect cooking and serving dish for many recipes. They also make good ash trays, side dishes, play things for children, garden ornaments, ground up are good for laying chickens… The list goes on.

Cooking.

It is possible to freeze the scallop at this stage but they loose something special when used later. I would suggest only using fresh scallops recipes. Scallops should be cooked very gently as they loose their sweetness and delicacy if overcooked, especially the coral, which is why it should be added late on in the cooking process if possible. Too many people fry scallops until they are blackened on the outside and rubbery in the middle, this is a terrible waste as the beauty of scallops is their sweetness and very delicate flavour.

Scallops make a very filling and rich meal, and at most 4 to 6 should be enough for even the most hungry of you. Because scallops are also only at their very best when fresh please only collect enough for your immediate needs. Remember to only take those big enough (over 10 cm diameter). It is also important to find out your local fisheries byelaws that may prohibit the harvesting of scallops during certain times of the year.