Ten pounds of scallops

It seemed out of the blue when I got a call from a friend who works in a bar to inform me that the ten pounds of scallops I had ordered arrived. ‘Right,’ I thought, only vaguely remembering the agreement that I made with a local fisherman. Now, true to his word, he had returned to the scene of hazy evening with twenty pounds of scallops to be divided between me and my barkeep friend. And of course, he arrived around midnight. Did I mention that they were only $7 a pound?

They were Atlantic sea scallops harvested close to Campobello Island and, by the time that I got them, mere hours out of the sea. Fresh scallops have a delightful and sweet smell, and if they smell too much, it can be a sign that they are not fresh or have been frozen.

I started by eating them exactly as they were: raw. This is only advisable with the freshest seafood, but I felt that this was as fresh as it gets. And they were amazing. The texture was incredibly smooth with a delicious buttery taste. Tiffany and I have eaten raw scallops before at a Japanese restaurant in Halifax, and these were equal if not better. This was washed down with some dry Riesling-Gewürztraminer.

Scallop ceviche, prepared according to Tiffany Conroy and Mike Wood’s specifications.

Next, I prepared some ceviche using Tiffany and Mike Wood’s recipe, although leaving out the cilantro. They required only about two hours of “cooking time” in the lime juice and did not lose any of the amazing texture. These were downed with generous portions of rosé, intsead of the customary margarita.

Onward, some scallops were covered in green curry paste and then fried in olive oil and butter. Layering the fats allows for a buttery taste, while the olive oil can withstand the higher heat needed for this. After two or three minutes of cooking, they are done.

Sometime during these preparations, I watched an episode of “The French Chef” with Julia Child that was all about scallops. She laments, as I do, that so much of the scallop is thrown away in this part of the world. Only the adductor muscle that keeps the two sides of the scallops shell together is kept and the roe (some call it the coral or tongue) is thrown away. I had asked my fisherman friend to keep some of the scallops whole in shells for me, but I will forgive him a lapse in memory.

What’s next? There are still eight pounds of scallops left. Certainly, I will try some of the recipes that Ms. Child made, experimenting with variations of coquilles St-Jacques gratinées. Suggestions from the gallery? Did I mention that I also have two pounds of fresh mussels in the fridge?

6 thoughts on “Ten pounds of scallops

  1. Mmm, scallops and mussels are my favorites. Grilled scallops are good, and you can put them in tacos too. You could also make pasta with a white wine cream sauce and use both the scallops and mussels. Or you could just sear the scallops and put them on a salad. I would probably make a cilantro cream sauce for them, but I’m guessing that’s out of the question for you.


  2. Tacos! That would be interesting. I once had these things in Chile that had cheese and seafood that were sort of like tacos (I forget the name), and they would be good. I am going to grill some on skewers and serve them with some pre-made arugula and almond pesto, which will be my substitute for cilantro. Do you think that you could serve them with cream sauce and water cress? Ms. Child simmered scallops and mushrooms in vermouth and then made a velouté sauce that was later thickened with milk, cream, and egg yolks, making it a sort of hybrid sauce allemande. I was recently served scallops on top of carrot soup, and they were very nicely paired. Perhaps I should open my mind more to cilantro and see what happens.


  3. Sure, cream sauce and watercress would probably work. If you’re going to try cilantro, do like the NYT article says and start with cilantro pesto. I think that would be delicious on grilled or seared scallops.


  4. Quickly and lightly pan fried with butter, drizzled with a marjoram-dijon vinaigrette. When I was a poor student, I would on rare occasions buy one or two and then prepare that as an indulgent snack, though I would often forgo the marjoram as it was an extra expense, and make my standard balsamic-dijon vinaigrette instead:


    ps: reading my notes on the above link I realize how silly it seems to me to think I would not have those ingredients around, and thus I was such an unformed version of myself then. But then, maybe I’ve been just taking my own advice all these years.


    1. By “pan fried with butter” I of course meant with olive oil and butter as you described, for the reasons you gave.


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