Scallops are a popular seafood choice even among people who are not very fond of seafood. They might be the perfect food to win over even the pickiest eater with their unassuming appearance and succulent flavor. Scallops are easy to find year-round, peaking in late fall and winter, keeping them the star of your menu any time of the year. There are even two types of scallops you can enjoy in a variety of dishes.
What Are Scallops?
Perhaps you’ve enjoyed this delicacy before, but you’re still left wondering, “What are scallops?” They are bivalve mollusks, meaning their interior muscle is surrounded by two shells. The scallop has a distinctive fan-shaped, ribbed shell, unlike the rounder white shells of its fellow bivalve mollusk, the clam. The white adductor muscle opens and closes the shell, allowing it to move quite rapidly along the ocean floor when needed. There is a bright orange section called coral, or “roe,” and a fluttery membrane. All three sections of the scallop are edible, though the white adductor muscle is the most commonly eaten part. There are up to two hundred tiny, bright blue eyes that detect light, darkness, and motion along the shell opening. Its eyes and ability to move quickly assist the scallop in evading what are scallops' natural predators: lobsters, crabs, fish, and their primary predator, the sea star.
There are Two Types of Scallops
There are two types of scallops: bay scallops and sea scallops. Bay scallops are smaller, measuring up to about the size of a dime, and found in bays, estuaries, and shallow waters along the East Coast of the United States. This sweeter, more tender type of scallop is commonly used in seafood stews and casseroles. Sea scallops are larger, up to two inches in diameter, and harvested from the deep, cold ocean waters of the Northwest Atlantic. What scallops are best prepared with a quick sear or grilled on a skewer? Sea scallops. Every time.
It is Healthy to Eat Scallops
The sweet, seaweed aroma of scallops is just part of their charm. With a buttery, delicate, slightly sweet but never fishy taste, its hint of briny, saltwater notes are like those of a lobster or crab but with a firmer texture. A scallop is 80 percent protein and low in calories, fat content, and cholesterol. They are very high in vitamins and minerals, plus scallops are a great source of antioxidants. Are scallops what can keep your diet on track? It’s possible! For those keeping count, three ounces of perfectly seared scallops are about ninety-four delicious calories. A popular bivalve mollusk, scallops have even made their way into the plant-based diet of ostroveganism.
It is Easy to Store Your Scallops
Are scallops what you are preparing for dinner tonight? Whether you have purchased fresh or frozen scallops, store them in the refrigerator only if you plan to cook and eat them in the next two days. Otherwise, wrap your scallops tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum, or other moisture-tight paper and place them in the coldest part of your freezer. When ready to enjoy, you will want to thaw the scallops in the refrigerator, never in the microwave or under hot running water. For a slightly faster thaw, you can leave them on the kitchen counter for no more than one hour before returning them to the refrigerator to complete thawing. A quick thaw results in a rubbery dish, regardless of which type of scallop you’re preparing. Rubbery scallops will diminish all hopes for rave reviews for your meal.
A Healthy Sea Scallop Recipe will be Your Go-To Meal
What scallops are a quick-fix for dinner after a long day? Pan-seared sea scallops are an easy, healthy dish that can also be considered a little bit fancy. Choose your oil wisely and pair them with a flavorful, low-calorie side dish; you will have your go-to meal for those evenings you want to treat yourself or when you are expecting guests. They are easy to prepare and will impress anyone’s palette!
- Heat your pan.
- Check the heat by flicking drops of water into the pan.
- When the water drops dance, add just a little oil.
- Pat your scallops dry, season to taste with salt, pepper, fresh herbs.
- Add the dry scallops to the hot pan.
- Flip to sear the other side only if the scallops do not stick to the pan.
- If scallops stick to the pan, let them sear a little longer, then flip.
To keep it low calorie, place your beautifully seared scallops on a bed of spiralized zucchini, sweet potatoes, or any low-carb pasta of your choice.
It is Easy to Make a Healthy Bay Scallop Recipe
Bay scallops are the second type of scallops that offer flexible protein and work well in baked dishes or acid-cooked in a fresh, cold ceviche. The sweet, dime-sized mollusk complements chowders, casseroles, and stews, adding its slightly briny, firm texture and allowing even the least experienced home cook to shine. Looking to avoid the oven on a hot, summer day? This bay scallop ceviche will keep you cool:
- Marinade bay scallops in a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, and olive il.
- Chill for two hours.
- Add diced jalapenos, red onion, and tomato.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate for one hour.
- Toss with diced avocado and cilantro.
Serve in a chilled martini glass for a fun flair or offer with chips or naan for dipping. Either way, the fresh, sweet taste of the bay scallop is a standout!
There are Different Types of Scallops You Can Buy: Fresh and Frozen
What scallops are best for you - fresh or frozen? Depending on where you live, the two types of scallops may be a delicacy that Is hard to find. If you live on the coast, you may have more access to fresh ones but be mindful that fresh does not always mean better than frozen. A frozen scallop can be far better than a days-old one that has not been transported or stored properly. When searching for fresh or frozen scallops, it is best to look for those that say they are “dry-packed.” When packed with water or other solutions, the weight of the packaging changes, and so does the texture of the scallop. A wet scallop turns out rubbery in any application, yielding unsatisfactory results. “Chemical-free” is a good label for either type of scallop as it indicates no adding of preservatives. What scallops are best for you will depend on what is available in your area; otherwise, you may need to seek an online source.
When looking for the best quality scallops, it is important to buy from reputable purveyors of seafood. A quality vendor will know the best season for the product as well as the best preparation. They know how to get you the product you want in a safe and timely manner. Often an online vendor is your best bet for pricing and availability rather than relying on your local grocer to carry a fresh yet expansive variety of seafood. No matter where you live, you can have the bounty of the ocean or the bay brought to your door in the form of the two types of scallops.