Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scallops



When I was in university, I took spring break in Florida one year. I didn't do a typical spring break location, instead staying where people older than me stayed. Fishing was a hot thing for me then and I did a lot of it there. After catching a manta ray (or something similar) one day, there was speculation that scallops were cut with a cookie cutter from ray wings. Have you ever heard such a thing?


I bought these scallops for the next recipe and now, even though I know better having had zoology, I have to confirm they are not ray wings.


According to Larousse:
A bivalve mollusc found on sandy or weedy seabeds along the coast, which moves by successively opening and closing its shell. It is also known in France as the pilgrim shell. One side of a scallop's shell is flat and the other is curved; both are marked with deep grooves shaped like a fan. The hinge is framed by triangular lugs. When it is sold, the shell is 10-15 cm (4 - 6 in) long. It contains about 90g (3.25 oz) meat including the coral, or roe (called the tongue), which is orange or pale red in colour. The flesh is firm and white and is a great delicacy.
When it is brought to market, the shell is closed. Scrub it thoroughly and place the curved side on an electric hotplate or in the oven at a low heat for a few minutes; open it with a knife. The flesh should be soaked in clear water for about 15 minutes; the beards may be used in the preparation of a fumet. Alternatively, the contents of the shell (meat and coral) may be bought already cleaned at the fishmonger's; they are also sold frozen.
Scallops are generally eaten cooked. They are served in the shell, prepared al'americaine, with champagne, curried, en gratin, poached with various sauces, cooked on skewers, sauteed a la provencale, or eaten cold with a salad. After oysters and mussels they are the most popular shellfish in France, being in season from the end of September to May. They are exported in great quantities by Canada and the United States.
I got my scallops from Ralph's for $22.99 a pound. And that's the sale price. Gulp. Note that mine were dry, which means they were not packed in a phosphate solution.


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