Cooking with Live Sea Scallops

It's Wednesday, which means that we've brought in a special seafood ingredient for you to cook with. This week it's live Sea Scallops from Massachusetts! (BTW, we've been having a lot of fun with this program and the enthusiasm you're sharing with us is infectious).
Live sea scallops will have a beautiful tasting-brine to them reminiscent of the flavor of the ocean and a sweet, nutlike adductor muscle. The muscle inside will vary in hue from a glowing pearl color to rusted orange. The color of "Blushing Scallops," those with the orange meat, are due to the pigments produced in the female gonads.


live sea scallop diagram cooking
How to clean your scallops:
  1. First use a fillet knife or Oyster Shucking Knife and food-safe towel (to keep the shell steady) as you cut away the adductor muscle to free the top shell. Keep in mind that unlike other bivalves the scallop will not have a completely closed shell, and the live scallop will clamp down, so keep your fingers away from the opening.
  2. Remove the liver/digestive gland of the scallop. Use your knife to cut the dark green belly away from the adductor muscle. Set aside.
  3. Remove the gills (can be found underneath the roe with your fingers. It's very soft and comes off easily. Remove the gills on the other shell by cutting it away from the mantle (the semi-circular rust-colored perimeter). The gills often have a bitter taste; discard this.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with ice cold water before cooking or consuming.

Pro-tip from Barton Seaver of "American Seafood":
"Seek out the roe and milt. These are wonderful when poached and then ground to a silken paste with butter using a mortar and pestle, then dabbed on top of fresh-off-the-grill steaks or seafood or added to a pan sauce, before spooning around caramelized scallops. The meats themselves can be salted and left to air-dry, in much the same manner as salt cod, or they can be simply sun-dried, withering down to a tough leathery consistency. These become heavily punctuated in their flavor and are used to fortify broths or rehydrated into chowders, their flavor being very much different from fresh scallops, with a very umami-rich flavor and pulp texture." [p.379]

    Baking your scallops

    To take advantage of our whole scallops offering Chef Adrian Hoffman has prepared a recipe.
    Baked Live Sea Scallop in Pastry

    Ingredients:mise en place scallop recipe

    2 each live sea scallops
    1T unsalted butter
    1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 cup of chopped Maitake mushrooms
    1T finely chopped shallot
    ¼ cup dry vermouth
    ½ cup heavy cream
    1 egg
    Lemon zest (use microplane)
    Prepared puff pastry (ok from grocer’s freezer)

    1. Clean scallops and remove everything but the adductor muscle.  Rinse well under ice cold water to remove any small pieces of sand.  Dry thoroughly with paper towel.
    2. In a small pan, add butter, thyme, shallots and Maitake mushrooms.  Cook until soft.  Add ¼ cup of dry vermouth and reduce by ¾.  Add heavy cream and let simmer, but not reduce for 3 minutes.  Season well with salt, pepper and just a bit of finely grated lemon zest.  Remove from heat and cool.
    3. Spoon the mixture in the half shell with the scallop piece.  Chill.
    4. Let puff pastry slightly thaw.  Roll out to half thickness or 1/8”.  Turn the non-used scallop shell upside down on the pastry and trace around the shell leaving a full ½” all around. Do this for both scallops.
    5. Mix an egg with a splash of cream and whisk well then strain. Brush lightly around the rim of the shell and place the pastry on top of the scallop shell – covering everything.  Press lightly just below the rim so the pastry sticks to the shell.  Poke two holes with a sharp knife right in the middle and brush the egg wash over the pastry.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking.
    6. Slightly crumple up some aluminum foil and place on a cookie pan to make a “bed” for cooking the scallops.  Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and push both into the foil - pastry side up.
    7. Bake in a preheated oven at 450’ for 20 minutes.
    Serve each on a plate on a small pile of lightly dampened salt to stabilize the bottom of the shell.  Enjoy!

    Panfrying/ Sautéing

    live sea scallop shells
    When panfrying/sautéing, scallops should be dried well. They should be placed in the pan only when the pan is very hot. It is necessary for them to be cooked quickly, so that the natural juices are not lost. They will start to brown immediately. It is better to veer on the side for undercooking them as opposed to overcooking!

    Grilling Your Scallops 

    Here is some Scallop Inspiration for you from Executive Chef Victoriano Lopez, over at La Mar.
    1. The scallop adductor muscle should be dried carefully before grilling (pan-frying or sautéing).
    2. Lightly coat the scallop in a high-temperature canola oil or other fat of your choice.
    3. Season with salt and pepper and dust with spices (Vadouvan)
    4. Consider skewering the scallops, so they are easy to turn.
    5. Let your grill get hot on the highest temperature setting.
    6. Cook them 2-3 minutes on each side until the grill marks have formed.
    Chef Victoriano paired these grilled scallops with some wonderful Peruvian cebiches.
    The only 5 ingredients necessary for a good cebiche are fish, onion, salt, chili pepper, and lime juice.
    Let's see the final dish! Is your mouth watering yet? It should be.

    About Chef Victoriano Lopez

    chef holding live sea scallops"After cooking with acclaimed Chef Gastón Acurio for more than two decades, Victoriano Lopez joined the La Mar San Francisco team as Corporate Executive Chef in September 2015. Born and raised in the Ancash region of Peru, Lopez first joined Acurio’s restaurant group, Acurio Restaurantes, in 1995 at Lima’s Astrid & Gaston—which recently took the 14th spot on San Pellegrino’s 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. By 2000, he began working with Acurio to expand his restaurant empire internationally, opening La Mar Cebicherías in Mexico City, Madrid, and San Francisco as well as Peruvian-inspired Tanta concepts across the country. Before heading up La Mar San Francisco, Lopez resided at Tanta’s Chicago outpost, working with Acurio to create new recipes for each restaurant concept.
    Although Lopez now considers the west coast home, he is dedicated to continuing to share the traditions and cultures of his native country with San Francisco by serving authentic Peruvian cuisine in an approachable, casual, and colorful waterfront setting. 'Spreading the knowledge and technique of Peruvian food is my calling,' says Lopez. 'Our menu takes diners on a creative voyage through Peru, showcasing the diverse landscape and ethnicities that make up the country’s culture.'" CUESA
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