These attractive fan-shaped shells contain a firm, translucent off-white meat wrapped with a bright orange roe or coral, also edible but with a different taste and texture. The membrane, grey-brown frill and black thread of intestine are all discarded. King scallops (Pecten maximus) are generally around 15cm with two shells (one rounded, one flat) – there will be 18-35 pieces of meat per kg. Queen scallops (Chlamys opercularis) have shells approximately 7cm wide shells (both rounded) with 40-20 pieces of meat per kg. Both are available either in the shell or as shelled meat – with or without the roe. Most scallops are caught using dredging methods, although there is also a strong UK market for premium quality diver-caught scallops. Because the meat acts like a sponge, there have historically been issues with unscrupulous wholesalers ‘soaking’ scallops to increase their weight.
A superb starter in or out of the shell, scallop meat has a sweet, delicate flavour, and requires minimal cooking – the simpler the better: steamed, pan-fried or grilled.
Here are some of the latest recipes for this particular species of fish.
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