What Is a Scallop?

A scallop is a type of shellfish, meaning, its origin is the sea. It is of bi-valve nature, yes, it has two sets of shells, the upper one, and the lower shell. Its upper shell is shaped like a domed fan while its bottom counterpart is flat fanned as well. We know that you may want to try this set of seafood, but we want to ensure that you are exactly aware of what you are eating. Scallops are a group of mollusks. Their hinged shells contain calcium bicarbonate. These free-swimming shellfish have ridges, maybe ribs.

Did you know that when you eat a scallop all you are really eating is its adductor muscle? With color ranging from white to beige, there are many forms in which scallops can be eaten, including baked, grilled, deep fried, pan-seared and even broiled.

Today we hope to provide the most basic facts regarding scallops as a meal. So that all your questions including what is a scallop are answered in detail.

Nutritional Value of the Scallop

what is a scallop

What is a scallop like in terms of nutrients? Scallops are low in calories. Yet rich in nutritional content. The nutrients in scallops have numerous health benefits.

Scallops are an exceptional source of vitamin B12. This is important for your cardiovascular health. This nutrient will take good care of your heart. Besides the B12 provision, scallops are a source of two important nutrients, namely magnesium and potassium. Potassium keeps in check the body’s blood levels while magnesium relaxes your blood vessels easing blood flow. Better circulation of blood means better nutrient circulation and a better health for you. Scallops are also rich in omega 3 fats which are also good for your heart.

Scallops have low-fat content yet the highest amount of protein. The cholesterol levels may be high but good for you. A detailed list of the nutrients and essence of scallops can be found here.

Wet or Dry Scallops… Which Way to Go?

When you go to the store you are going to find two types of scallops: dry and wet scallops. Easy as it may sound, the type you choose will go a long way in determining what and how you are going to cook the scallops.

Upon harvest at sea, a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate and water is used to preserve wet scallops. Water weight is of some essence and the STPP together with the freezing provide it. Dry scallops, on the other hand, are just harvested dry.

As much as wet scallops have a high moisture retention, they come with a downside. The STPP imparts a lathered up taste. The texture upon cooking is also springy. It is not the best of choices for us. We love good food and the wet scallops were not impressive on thawing and cooking. Wet scallops lose a lot more water on cooking because of the extra amount of moisture they hold on to on preservation. Their crispy feel makes them less appealing.

Dry scallops are free from STPP. They are sweeter in taste. You can even tell from the freshness. We prefer dry scallops to wet scallops. Dry scallops when put on paper towel leave negligible moisture while the wet ones leave a lot more. If you want to salvage the wet scallops, you can soak them in a mixture of cold salted water and lemon juice.

We advise on fresh scallops. They should have white and firm flesh, free from browning. What is a scallop if it is not fresh or sweetly scented?

What Do Scallops Taste Like

(Via: coastalliving.com)
(Via: coastalliving.com)

Rather than the taste, there is more concentration on the feel of the scallop. Scallops are of soft texture. Asking a number of people what is a scallop almost gave us pretty the same answer. That it is like eating a marshmallow which is flavored. The only difference comes in when chewing it. It is not as chewy, yes, it is soft, but not too buttery. It’s luscious and velvety feel will get your mouth wanting more of the same.

There are two types of scallops depending on where they are found. There are the deep-sea scallops and the bay scallops. The sea scallops have a large piece of flesh, going up to one and a half inches in diameter. However, the bay scallops are tiny and only a half inch in diameter. There are other types of scallops but these are the most common ones in the American waters.

Cooking. How Ready Are My Scallops?

cooking-how-ready-are-my-scallops

Scallops are amazingly easy to cook. These sea treasures are delicious. There are numerous ways of preparing scallops. And as usual, cooking has its ethics. There is code you need to stick to if you are to achieve a good scallop meal. One thing is for sure, overcooking will destroy its buttery feel. And isn’t this what we are after. When scallops are exposed to too much heat, they become fibrous and tough.

Light cooking is advisable. This is to preserve the protein content and ensure a modest texture. You need to watch your scallops as they cook, as they are delicate. They should turn opaque. What is the one thing we know about undercooking? For me, it is that all your ingredients need to be ready. Be sure to have your pasta, maybe preferred sauce, and even salad before you embark on putting the scallops in the pan. Simply, oil the scallop skillet on both sides. Let them sear for two minutes then flip. Let it cook another two minutes as well. When slightly soft, serve immediately.

How Ready Are My Scallops?
How Ready Are My Scallops?

How should my scallops taste once they are ready? Don’t worry, if you think you flopped at it. You should aim at a melt-in-my-mouth feel of the scallop. They are an easy to cook meal and considered a quick fix.

Scallops need to be prepared fresh. If at any point in time they smell like fish, they are no longer fresh. It is not too late for you though. You can cook the scallops in creamy pastes, cheeses and sauces to regain the intended taste. When removing the tough outer membrane, intestines and other unnecessary organs that enclose the adductor muscle, care should be taken not to damage the coral.

To include in other dishes such as pasta, you can cut the scallops in half or quarter portions across the circumferences. You can make a salsa from papaya that is diced, peppers and ginger and serve the scallops with them. Tartar source is great too for seasoning your scallop dishes.

There are numerous recipes of scallops and you can find them here or alternatively here.