In shore Maine scallop season is coming to an end, so we figured we would shed some light on these sweet, jewels of the sea.
Scallops are far more resourceful than one may think. Firstly, did you know that they have the ability to swim? Youtube it, it’s adorable! The abductor muscle (the part of a scallop we eat) is the reason they can swim in the first place. This muscle allows them to move around the ocean. Along with the abductor muscle, scallops have the mantle, the roe, and the reproductive glands. That’s a lot of parts for such a small creature! Another interesting fact about scallops is that they have more than 100 eyes. Even more interesting is that each eye is equipped with a lens, retina, and optical nerve.
When buying scallops, it’s helpful to know the difference between dry scallops and wet (or soaked) scallops. Dry scallops contain no preservatives and are not treated with any additives or chemicals. Upon first glance, dry scallops should be translucent, and have a color anywhere from off white, pinkish, or even sometimes have an orange or tan hue.
Wet scallops are different. Although they are harvested the same way as dry scallops, they are treated differently afterwards. To extend their shelf life, they are soaked in a chemical brine called STP (sodium tripolyphosphate). The scallop acts like a sponge and soaks up water and STP, adding weight and turning them glossy and white. Due to being treated with STP, wet scallops taste more bland, and lose their wonderful texture. When you buy wet scallops, you’re also buying around 25% water, which will shed into your pan as soon as you start to cook them.
If you read our last blog entry, Buying Fish 101, you will be familiar with understanding what fresh seafood should smell like (If you haven’t had the chance, fresh seafood should always smell more like ocean, and less “like fish”). Fresh scallops generally follow the same rules, though dry scallops will have a stronger scallop odor than wet scallops, because they haven’t been diluted with water and chemicals.
Here at Harbor Fish we only sell fresh, dry scallops. For us, quality reigns highest on our list of absolute musts when it comes to our seafood. These creatures are far more tasty without the added STP. Plus, with the level of freshness our day boat scallops have, there is absolutely no reason to add a thing! Next time you’re in our store, pick some up. You won’t want to miss out!