What Do Scallops Taste Like and Why Are They So Popular?

What Do Scallops Taste Like

Have you ever opened your recipe book and stumbled across an ingredient with scallops in it? Or have you ever sat at a restaurant, found scallops on their specialty menu, and wonder, would that taste delicious?

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The curiosity surrounding the matter is maddening. What do scallops taste like? Why are they so popular too? It seems as if it’s the common seafood choice in most restaurants or recipes aside from fish and shrimp. You’d also like to try it. But before you dive in on such a foreign ingredient, wouldn’t it be best to get a general idea on what scallops are?

Scallops are mollusks that live deep in the ocean. They’re also found everywhere making it the main ingredient in several dishes. Are they tasty? Let’s find out.

When we talk about scallops in the subject of food, what we mean is the meat part of it. Some people can get quite confused and think about the actual shell itself. Scallop meat is plump with a creamy white color. Some scallops come with orange meat attached on the side which is known as the roe. That’s edible too.

Since they come from the ocean, scallops have that salty taste but have a hint of sweetness and juiciness to it as well. They’re quite delicate and bouncy, but easily chewable when you eat them.

Scallops are often cooked with garlic and olive oil or butter. It balances out that saltiness and sweetness, making it more appealing to the taste buds. It’s important to note not to overcook it. As mentioned above, scallops have a bouncy texture. Once overcooked, scallops can turn rubbery, making it harder to chew.

What Are Scallops?

What Are Scallops?

Scallops are bivalve mollusks. This means that its shell can open and close. They flap around in the ocean as they swim from one place to another. The main muscle that helps them open and close their shell is known as the adductor muscle. This is the meat part we usually eat.

There are 3 types of scallop you should know:

1. Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are the ones you usually find in grocery stores and restaurants as they’re the most common types to be harvested all year round. They’re 1½ inches in diameter and have larger shells than other known scallops. The meat is also thicker and is a mix of sweet and salty.

2. Bay Scallops

Bay scallops are known to be smaller. They’re also sweeter than sea scallops. They’re called bay scallops because they’re found near bays and in shallow waters as compared to sea scallops that are found in deep waters.

3. Calico Scallops

Calico scallops are known for their shells with beautiful designs. But unlike the bay and sea scallops where they are already slightly open, the calico scallops are closed shut. You’d have to steam these scallops just to open them. They’re also less sweet out of all the three scallops.

Wet and Dry Scallops

You’ll probably come across wet and dry scallops while you’re in the market or grocery stores and wonder which one should you pick. Which scallop remains fresh? Here’s a quick comparison of the difference between the two:

Wet Scallops

  • They are often displayed in a liquid that’s cloudy in color
  • That liquid is known as sodium tripolyphosphate or STPP and serves as a sort of preservative to make sure they last longer
  • They are white
  • Tastes less sweet.

Dry Scallops

  • They are not displayed with any liquid surrounding them
  • Creamy white
  • Sweeter.

It’s better to buy dry scallops than the wet ones. Aside from the wet scallops containing STPP, it also packs on too much water thereby making it weigh heavier than dry scallops. This will lead you to pay for more.

Scallops’ Nutritional Content

Scallops are known to have high nutrition contents of omega-3, protein, and vitamin B, which have the same nutritional value provided by oysters and clams.

Can You Eat Raw Scallops?

Can You Eat Raw Scallops?

Fresh scallops can be eaten raw. It’s common to find it raw in Japanese restaurants where they sell scallop sushi or sashimi. You can even taste just how creamy a scallop is by eating it raw or by squeezing some lemon juice on top of them.

How to tell if scallops are bad? Scallops that have gone bad will tend to have a sour smell. They’ll also have some dark discoloration rather than its creamy white color.

Scallops are best cooked pan-seared, grilled, baked and sautéed. Just be sure to rinse fresh scallops before preparing them to be consumed.

Where To Use Scallops

Where To Use Scallops

Scallops can be used in a variety of dishes:

  • Poke – Hawaiian poke is known to use sashimi cuts of fresh salmon or tuna over a bed of vegetables and rice. But you can also use raw scallops and shrimps on poke bowls too.
  • Pizza – Did you know that you can add scallops as toppings on your pizza? Along with garlic, cheese and tomato sauce, scallops can be a unique take on a seafood pizza.
  • Baked Meals – You can do baked scallops au gratin with butter, parmesan cheese, and white wine. You can also lay scallops with one of their shells serving as a plate underneath each meat unto a baking pan. Put some chopped garlic and olive oil and then bake them for a savory dish.
  • Pasta – Scallops are perfect with pasta. Sauté scallops on some anchovies, olive oil, capers, and garlic then match it with your favorite pasta noodles.
  • Pan-seared – Scallops that are simply pan-seared are the best. Just sear them with lemon, garlic and olive oil for an exquisite dish.

So the next time you come across it on a menu book, you’ll know what to expect with this kind of seafood. Before you know it, you’ll be buying fresh scallops to have at home too. Step up your culinary skills on another level by trying on some scallop dishes. Not only will you have delicious meals but you’ll also have healthy seafood too.

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