Scallops are normally found in every ocean, and there are several different types of this shellfish, many of which are considered to be a great food source and included in scallop dishes. Additionally, their brightly colored shells in the shape of a fan are sought after as a collector’s item. Inside their shells, these shell fish are quite similar to oysters as they also have an adductor muscle. This muscle which is the edible portion is well developed because they are active swimmers. Scallops are in great demand as scallop dishes and scallop recipes are popular in both Eastern and Western cuisines. Some of the popular dishes are scallop rolled in bacon, scallop with dill, Seafood Cioppino, Skeeter’s Ceviche and Scallop Scampi.
Scallops are actively farmed especially in countries such as China. In the western hemisphere they are usually collected by scallop dredges or hand-caught by divers directly from base of the ocean. Sweet and tender the flesh of the scallop can be used in a number of scallop recipes as it combines well with most ingredients.
History of Scallops
Scallops have been consumed by humans over several thousands of years and probably every since humans became aware of them. They have been an important food source for communities living near the sea since many of them are found in bays. In most seaside towns and cities scallop recipes abound and scallop dishes are almost daily fare.
The shells of scallops have special significance because they have been used often as religious symbols. In Christianity scallop shells are associated with St. James and were worn by medieval pilgrims as they travelled to his shrine in Spain. The scallop shell also had religious significance in ancient Rome and is often depicted along with Venus. Currently scallop shells are often used to decorative items as they have great color and form.
Culinary Uses of Scallops
Scallops cook fast and are great to eat in scallop dishes. Moreover they can be used in a variety of recipes because they can be cooked in a number of different ways, ranging from sautéing to grilling. When fried in a pan with a little oil or butter, these shellfish cook in about four to five minutes. Once such recipe that is especially mouthwatering, is scallops stir fried in butter infused with thyme, which can be prepared in a couple of minutes.
Preferred Methods to Prepare Scallop Dishes
Scallops once they are removed from their shell and cleaned can be cooked whole or diced into smaller pieces. Baking and frying and broiling in an oven are preferred methods to cook this shellfish. When using them in a scallop recipe such as Skeeter’s Ceviche, these shellfish are often not cooked but are marinated with lime and left overnight to “cook” in the lime juice.
Popular Scallop Recipes
Scallops can be cooked by simply adding butter in a pan and dropping them in. Within a few minutes and with a minimal amount of stirring and seasoning these shellfish are ready to eat. This simplicity associated with cooking scallops has resulted in several simple scallop dishes and scallop recipes becoming popular. One such simple scallop dish, is stir fried scallops cooked in garlic butter and drizzled with almonds. Various pastas also combine well with this shell fish, and this has resulted in several scallop recipes with pasta, examples of these include fettuccine with shrimp and scallop, and Cajun Seafood Pasta.
Since scallops do not have a strong taste like other seafood such as fish, many people who normally steer clear of seafood have no problem with this shellfish. This fact has made scallop dishes popular in restaurants.
Nutritive value of Scallop Dishes
Scallops have been found to contain good amounts of vitamin B12, which is vital to the cardiovascular system. These shellfish when included in scallop recipes can be a good source of fatty acids such as omega-3.
Consumption Criteria for Scallops Dishes
Scallops when included as part of scallop dishes or scallop recipes should not be overcooked, as overcooking ruins their taste. When a scallop turns opaque and can be pulled apart easily, it is cooked and can be plated.
Tips for Buying and Storing Scallops
Scallops especially those that have been harvested from the sea are available year round. However, there are several other types of scallop that are only available during specific seasons. These shell fish rot quickly, so they are shelled and frozen soon after they are caught. Frozen scallops are often available from supermarkets and can be stored in refrigerators for up to three months before being used in scallop dishes. When storing fresh scallop in a refrigerator for a few days ensure that it is placed in tray of ice and kept in the coolest part.
When buying fresh scallop using your nose to guide your decision is a wise move, as these shellfish are usually odorless when they are fresh. If you are greeted by any other weird odor, you can rest assured that they are either a day old or have been stored improperly and cannot be included in any scallop recipes.