As I native New Englander I am amazed by how many people in this area don’t know a fresh scallop versus a frozen one. Most of the time people enjoy them fried so perhaps it doesn’t matter anyway. In markets, many frozen scallops are from Asia.
This weekend I was fortunate to meet Elaine & Karin Tammi. A mother and daughter who have written a cookbook, Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook.
Not only does this have great recipes from many of the areas top chefs, it is an informative and a great read.
To accompany their book signing, I got some local Live Cultured Bay Scallops from Taylor Bay in Fairhaven, MA.
It was great to see the reaction of people sampling something that they think they are familiar with but they are not. Most are familiar with the white meat round Scallop (adductor mussel). To see it in the shell and taste the entire mollusk is a treat. This way of preparation more popular outside the US.
I enjoy them raw, but we sauteed them in the shell with white wine and a compound butter.
If you have the chance try them don’t think that these have the texture of clams or oysters. They are mild in comparative texture and the flavor is sweet with a nice salty balance.
Since they are a live product, they would have to be consumed fresh. In other words, this isn’t something that you can ice down in the refrigerator for a few days. That is why you rarely see them on restaurant menus because they have a short life. Once they are shucked and cleaned, it is a different story (as well as a different flavor). A savvy chef will offer them as a special with light accompaniments and not full of breading with butter smothered in Marinara sauce. You want to taste the scallop not cracker crumbs.