While we love serving up the best oysters, mussels, and clams in CT, we feel that sometimes our fresh, delicious sea and bay scallops don’t quite get the attention they deserve. With that in mind, this entry is for you lovers of fine scallops in Connecticut. Get ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know about scallops whether it be on the dinner plate, in the ocean, or in corporate logo history.
Scientifically speaking, scallops are bivalve mollusks and members of the Pectinidaefamily.1 Valued for both their culinary uses and the natural artistic beauty of their shells, scallops are beloved the whole world over. They are found in all of the oceans throughout the globe and while they’re a big favorite in the United States, nearly 80% of the world’s annual scallop harvest is hauled in off the coast of China.3 In fact, scallops (and their shells) are so popular that one of the world’s most well-known corporate logos is patterned after a scallop shell from the species Pectus Maximus.2 Does anybody recognize this one?
On an anatomic level, scallops have much in common with other bivalve seafood favorites such as clams, mussels, and oysters. Like these other shellfish, scallops have powerful abductor muscles which they use to open and close their shells. They also share some common ground in that they are all filter feeders whose diets consist primarily of plankton.2 The similarities largely stop here though, as unlike their shelled cousins, most scallops do not live sedentary lifestyles. They are highly mobile shellfish who use their abductor muscles to open and close their shells to allow them to move quickly and efficiently throughout the ocean. Another notable difference about scallops is the fact that they have a series of simple eyes running along their upper and lower bodies, which can number as many as 1000! Despite their large number of eyes, scallops do not see particularly well, though they can observe changes in light and detect movement of nearby objects.
The two most frequently found scallops in the United States, as well as the two that are most prominently featured here at Atlantic Seafood Market are sea scallops and bay scallops. Sea scallops are the among the largest scallops and are often shucked while still at sea, with only their meat, or “nut” making the long trip ashore. There are generally about 10-20 of our sea scallops in a pound of meat and they are some of the most commonly included in appetizers, such as our bacon wrapped scallops (pictured below) which are becoming more famous throughout CT all the time.
Bay Scallops are the smallest of the significant scallop groups, with the ones we carry at Atlantic Seafood taking between 20 and 30 to make a pound. They make an excellent addition to soups, chowders, stews, stir fries, casseroles, and more. They are mainly found on the United States Atlantic Coast from Maine through the Carolinas, with some of them being harvested from as nearby as Niantic. Unfortunately, these tasty critters are not as great in number as they once were as oceanside development has sharply decreased the amount of sea grasses that baby Bay Scallops must attach themselves to. In addition to this, a sharp decline in the number of sharks on the Atlantic Coast has led to a greater population of various sea rays who just love to feast upon Bay Scallops and now are able to do so much more easily.2
Now that you’ve learned about scallops, what better time could there be to pick some up at Atlantic Seafood and then take them home to whip up a seafood delight that will wow your friends and family? If that’s what you want to do, read the recipe below for Pan Roasted Scallops with Sesame Sauce from MyRecipes.com.
Ingredients: 16 large sea scallops, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 sliced green onion (with the white and green sections reserved separately), 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 3 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper,
1 tsp canola oil, 1/8 tsp black pepper 3
Directions: 1. Remove scallops from the refrigerator, and let them sit until they are near room temperature (this will take around 10 minutes).
2. Place the white onion pieces as well as the garlic cloves in a small mixing bowl along with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil and crushed red pepper. Stir with a whisk to mix all the ingredients, and then set aside.
3. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the scallops and sprinkle them with the black pepper.
4. Proceed to cook the scallops for about 3 minutes on one side until they reach a golden brown hue. Using tongs, turn the scallops over and cook them for 2 to 3 more minutes or until they brown. Transfer the scallops to a plate, and cover them with foil. Continue to heat the frying pan.
5. Whisk the sauce once again, and add it to the pan. Continue to cook until the sauce boils and thickens slightly, and then remove the pan from heat. Divide scallops among 4 plates, lightly pour some of the hot sesame sauce over each portion, and garnish to taste with a sprinkle of green onion pieces.3
2. Author Unknown
Medical Information Search (Oceans and Seas FAQs)
3. Broiher, Kitty and Mayone, Kimberly
Pan Roasted Scallops with Sesame Sauce
MyRecipes.com January 2007