Scallops are a popular seafood choice even among people who are not very fond of seafood. They might be the perfect food to win over even the pickiest eater with their unassuming appearance and succulent flavor. Scallops are easy to find year-round, peaking in late fall and winter, keeping them the star of your menu any time of the year. There are even two types of scallops you can enjoy in a variety of dishes.
WHAT ARE SCALLOPS?
Perhaps you’ve enjoyed this delicacy before, but you’re still left wondering, “What are scallops?” They are bivalve mollusks, meaning their interior muscle is surrounded by two shells. The scallop has a distinctive fan-shaped, ribbed shell, unlike the rounder white shells of its fellow bivalve mollusk, the clam. The white adductor muscle opens and closes the shell, allowing it to move quite rapidly along the ocean floor when needed. There is a bright orange section called coral, or “roe,” and a fluttery membrane. All three sections of the scallop are edible, though the white adductor muscle is the most commonly eaten part. There are up to two hundred tiny, bright blue eyes that detect light, darkness, and motion along the shell opening. Its eyes and ability to move quickly assist the scallop in evading what are scallops’ natural predators: lobsters, crabs, fish, and their primary predator, the sea star.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF SCALLOPS
There are two types of scallops: bay scallops and sea scallops. Bay scallops are smaller, measuring up to about the size of a dime, and found in bays, estuaries, and shallow waters along the East Coast of the United States. This sweeter, more tender type of scallop is commonly used in seafood stews and casseroles. Sea scallops are larger, up to two inches in diameter, and harvested from the deep, cold ocean waters of the Northwest Atlantic. What scallops are best prepared with a quick sear or grilled on a skewer? Sea scallops. Every time.
It is Healthy to Eat Scallops
The sweet, seaweed aroma of scallops is just part of their charm. With a buttery, delicate, slightly sweet but never fishy taste, its hint of briny, saltwater notes are like those of a lobster or crab but with a firmer texture. A scallop is 80 percent protein and low in calories, fat content, and cholesterol. They are very high in vitamins and minerals, plus scallops are a great source of antioxidants. Are scallops what can keep your diet on track? It’s possible! For those keeping count, three ounces of perfectly seared scallops are about ninety-four delicious calories. A popular bivalve mollusk, scallops have even made their way into the plant-based diet of ostroveganism.