Scallops

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Scallops really are one of the most delicious foods to come from the sea, I never tire from cooking them and they adapt to any number of cuisines but most especially French and Asian.


Orkney Scallops

Scallops are a mollusc, which falls under the large umbrella of the shellfish family, they are a bivalve which is sealed between two round, fan-shaped shells. Common throughout the waters of the Pacific, Mediterranean and Atlantic, I use Cornish and Orkney scallops which are wonderfully sweet.

How to Open Scallops

A short, heavy bladed knife is best for this, wrap a towel or cloth around the hand, which holds the scallop in case the knife slips and with the knife locate the hinge muscle between the two shells. Push the blade up with a swift, sharp movement to break the hinge and separate the shells. Inside the shell you will find a pearly white scallop with a tear-shaped orange coral known as the roe attached to it. Take the knife and slide it under the scallop loosening it from the muscle, which attaches the scallop to the shell. Discard the black innards and the shell skirt, retaining the white scallop and orange roe. I tend to use only the white meat in restaurant preparations reserving the roes for other uses but for home use I would serve the roe as well. Scallops need washing but are best washed quickly in ice-cold water; they are like sponges and will take on the water resulting in loss of flavour. Pat them dry and place upright on a tray to keep their shape.

How to Cook Scallops

The Chinese favour steaming scallops but I always cook them in a very hot pan because cooking them quickly helps to keep their size and shape whilst sealing in the flavour, and, apart from nothing else, I love the golden brown crust the heat gives the outside of the scallop. Iíve paired scallops with all sorts of flavours; curry powder, cauliflower, raisins, pork belly, carrots, bacon, risotto, peas, etc, etc-the combinations are almost endless. When pairing scallops with other ingredients remember the texture of the scallops, which are soft and moist so a contrast of crunchy and soft can often work very well. Just remember to have all of your ingredients ready before cooking the scallops as they will easily overcook and lose their temperature after a couple of minutes.

Recipes

Vietnamese-Scallop-Salad

Content and picture © Miles Collins

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