Small but mighty Scallops
Nothing cheers up your mid-week menu quite like scallops. Not only are they fast and easy to prepare, but they’re delicious and can be cooked in a variety of ways.
“Pearls of the sea”, these meaty beauties are wrapped in an orange roe, which gives each scallop a slight crunchy texture while complementing their succulent taste. A superb starter in or out of the shell, scallop meat has a sweet, delicate flavour, and requires minimal cooking – the simpler the better. Seafish (http://www.seafish.org/) recommend serving them steamed, pan fried or grilled –depending on your tastes.
These attractive, fan-shaped shells contain a firm, translucent off-white meat wrapped with a bright orange roe or coral, also edible but with a different taste and texture. The membrane, grey-brown frill and black thread of intestine are all discarded. King scallops (Pecten maximus) are generally around 15cm with two shells (one rounded, one flat) – there will be 18-35 pieces of meat per kg. Queen scallops (Chlamys opercularis) have shells approximately 7cm wide with 40-20 pieces of meat per kg. Both King and Queen scallops are available either in the shell or as shelled meat – with or without the roe. Most scallops are caught using dredging methods, although there is also a strong UK market for premium quality diver-caught scallops. Because the meat acts like a sponge, there have, historically, been issues with unscrupulous wholesalers “soaking” scallops to increase their weight.