The Local Food Report: bay scallops

I jumped from boat to boat, down the docks in Wellfleet Harbor, looking for the Sadie Mae. "She's a big boat," the fishmonger had said, "white and loaded up with a dredger."

I was looking for a bucket of bay scallops a local fisherman had left me. They're hard to get in the shell, at least in fish markets nowadays.

I understand why, of course—the tiny, sweet abductor muscle really is the the best part—but there's plenty of other good meat to be had. Taken as a whole the bay scallop's not too different from a mussel or a clam, just sweeter and a bit more robust. Steamed and dipped in butter it grows better still.

I suppose how you cook it depends upon the occasion: for Christmas perhaps just the sweetest meat, but for the average evening I think I'd eat the whole shebang. At the least, it would be nice to have the option.

When I finally found the bucket, the scallops were chattering away. One snapped shut, and then another, out-clapping each other with a splash. I scooped up five for dinner, and tucked them into the car.

Shortly they were no longer clapping—thrown instead into a bit of seawater to steam. They quieted down and surrendered, mouths gaping and suddenly still. I watched them reveal their frills—all lace and delicacy around the edge. I took them out, gently, and placed them on the table to wait. With garlic minced and butter melted, I sauteed the two together until soft. The scallops and I sat, admiring each other briefly for a moment, and then it was time to eat.


Serves 2

Bring 1 cup fish stock or seawater to a boil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pot. Put in 8 to 10 bay scallops, soaked, scrubbed, and in the shell, and steam covered until the shells open (about 1 to 2 minutes). (You will probably have to ask your fishmonger to get these for you in advance.) Mince 2 cloves garlic and saute in 4 tablespoons sweet butter. Keep warm and use for dipping.


Glidden's Island Seafood, Nantucket 508.228.0912
Lobster's Live, Falmouth 800.628.0045
Mac's Seafood, Truro 508.349.9409
Swan River Seafood, Dennisport 508.398.2340
The Net Result, Martha's Vineyard 508.693.6071


Unknown said...

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