What are Scallops?

Scallops are a staple of seafood menus around the world and they are readily available in most grocery stores. However, as familiar as most people are with them, the details surrounding what they are is a bit of a mystery to most.

Scallops

Scallops are a type of mollusk, just like clams, mussels, and oysters. In nature, they have two large shells that they can open and close rapidly to swim. The big muscle they use to perform this task is officially called an adductor muscle, but it is known colloquially as the ‘scallop’. Using this powerful source of propulsion, scallops survive by filtering small microorganisms out of the water as they swim.

Scallops provide invaluable texture and flavor to seafood dishes and are sought after by seafood chefs. After being caught, they are either preserved as “wet” scallops or sold quickly as “dry” scallops. Dry scallops have a sweeter and fresher flavor that is very popular, but the lack of preservation means they must be cooked shortly after being caught. Conversely, wet scallops are treated with a solution immediately after they are pulled from the water, keeping them preserved for transport and sale. Wet scallops still retain the delightful qualities that make scallops popular, but they do have a slight alteration in taste that has to be accounted for. Additionally, if the scallops have been frozen they must be thawed carefully to prevent damage to the flesh that affects their texture.

Pro-tip: Soaking wet scallops in a quart of cold water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and two tablespoons of salt for half an hour will help neutralize the flavor of the preservation solution. 

Off the Hook is a restaurant that prides itself on quality ingredients and expert preparation with each and every dish. Our ingredients are locally-sourced and seasonal, guaranteeing an absolutely fresh and vibrant meal with each visit. We invite you to visit our restaurant and fish market today at 6630 Gateway Avenue in Sarasota!

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