Scallops: a treat from the sea
This article was originally published in December 2011
Some fans of scallops call them “candy from the sea,” a testament to their mild, sweet flavor and delicate, pleasingly plump texture.
Quick to cook and endlessly versatile, scallops pair with a host of flavors, whether you prefer the smoke and saltiness of bacon, the depth of dashi or the lightness of lemon and butter.
PCC carries wild Alaska Weathervane scallops, which are caught, shucked, cleaned, sorted, boxed and frozen within four hours of capture at sea for maximum freshness and quality. Unlike many scallop varieties farmed or wild-caught around the globe, these gifts from the ocean are not soaked in water or chemicals. They also meet the Seafood Watch program’s criteria for sustainability.
Scallops are bountiful in protein, vitamin B12, omega-3 fats, and other nutrients such as magnesium and potassium that help us maintain normal blood pressure. Choose scallops with firm, creamy flesh with no evidence of browning. Frozen scallops should be solid and shiny. Refrigerate them as quickly as possible to retain freshness and cook within a day or two at most for best flavor.
Tasty ways with scallops
Scallops pair well with nearly any flavor, from citrus to curry, and can be baked, broiled, seared, grilled and more. You’ll want to pat them dry and cook them only a few minutes until they begin to turn opaque — wait too long and their daintiness turns tough and fibrous. Wrap them in bacon secured with a toothpick and broil until the bacon’s done or season with salt and pepper and sear them in olive oil. Or, try these delicious ideas, fresh from PCC Cooks instructor Becky Selengut, author of the cookbook “Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast.”
Try your scallops:
- Seared and served atop a silky, simple carrot puree, with tiny leaves of marjoram and olive oil.
- Caramelized and served with a tarragon butter sauce.
- Grilled just to get marks and then wrap in banana leaves with lime leaves, a little fish sauce, coconut milk and lime wedges inside. Steam on the grill for 3 to 4 more minutes.
- Browned in a cast-iron pan and served alongside a fresh corn sauce with chanterelle mushrooms.
- Be brave! Try scallops in the raw, sliced thin and garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, orange pieces, good olive oil and crunchy salt.