Sea-scallops

Sea-scallops ~ Super Seafoods

The soft fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavor of this super seafood is enjoyed by even those who aren't particularly fond of fish or other shellfish.

The season for the fresh, sea and bay varieties runs from October through March, while the fresh calico variety are available from December through May.

And, they're available year-round.

These delicate seafoods are actually mollusks that have two beautiful convexly ridged, or scalloped, shells.

They consist of two shells hinged at one end which is why they're known to marine biologists as bi-valve mollusks.

The edible portion is the white muscle that opens and closes the two shells and is called the "nut".

The reproductive glands known as "coral" are also edible, although not widely consumed in North America.

A Variety of Health Benefits

Most people know that fish is good for you, but what about other seafood?

As it turns out, scallops, in addition to their delectable taste, contain a variety of nutrients that can promote your cardiovascular health, plus provide protection against colon cancer.

A Nutrient Team for Better Cardiovascular Health

Sea-scallops are actually a very good source of a very important nutrient for cardiovascular health, vitamin-B12.

In addition to their B12, they're a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and potassium, three other nutrients that provide significant benefits for the cardiovascular system.

Protection Against Cancer

A high intake of vitamin-B12 has also been shown to be protective against colon cancer.

Vitamin-B12 helps to protect the cells of the colon from mutations as a result of cancer-causing chemicals, another good reason to eat plenty of vitamin-B12.

So add sea-scallops, a very good source of protein and vitamin-B12, to your list of healthy seafood and enjoy.

Description

In North America, the most widely available types include the Atlantic deep-sea scallop and the bay scallop.

The flesh of the sea-scallop is large, usually about one-and-a-half inches in diameter, while the bay scallop is tiny, averaging about one-half of an inch in diameter.

In Europe, the most popular type is the great scallop, more commonly called Coquille St Jacques.

Several hundred different species are found worldwide, in shallow areas of most seas.

A Bit of History

The great scallop gained great prestige during the medieval era.

Pilgrims visiting the shrine of St. James in Spain began to use empty scallop shells for both eating and begging.

The scallop and its shell quickly became a symbol of this magnificent shrine with people using them to decorate their doorways as well as their coats of arms.

In honor of the shrine, they were called the shell of St. James, now best known by their translated French name of Coquille St. Jacques.

How to Select and Store

Since scallops are extremely perishable, they're usually shelled, washed and frozen, or packed in ice, as soon as they are caught.

Fresh sea-scallops should have flesh that is white and firm and have no evidence of browning.

Fresh sea-scallops should have flesh that is white and firm and have no evidence of browning.

Frozen sea-scallops should be solid and shiny, and the inside of their packaging should be free of frost.

If you're planning on freezing the scallops, make sure to ask the fishmonger whether they're fresh or defrosted (if it is not clearly marked) since you will need to cook previously frozen scallops before refreezing.

Smell is a good indicator of freshness with fresh scallops being either odorless or having a slightly sweet scent.

Tips for Preparing Scallops

Sea-scallops should only be cooked for a few minutes since exposure to too much heat will cause them to become tough and fibrous.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

Serve lightly cooked bay scallops with a salsa made from diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and ginger.

Skewer marinated scallops, leeks and cherry tomatoes, and broil in the oven.

Brush with garlic olive oil when done.

Add bay scallops to your gazpacho for extra flavor and nutrients.

Saute scallops with ginger, shiitake mushrooms and scallions.

Nutritional Profile

Scallops are are a very good source of vitamin-B12, protein and phosphorus.

In addition, scallops are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and potassium.

So, if you're wondering what to have for dinner this evening, you might want to try...

Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops with Spinach


This take on the classic bacon-wrapped appetizer uses prosciutto instead to wrap meaty scallops.

High-quality Italian prosciutto, found at well-stocked supermarkets or Italian specialty stores, has an incomparable melt-in-your-mouth texture.

It's more expensive, but you only need a little for this recipe.

Serve with an un-oaked Chardonnay wine.

Ingredients:

* 12 lg. dry sea-scallops, (about 1 lb.; see Note)

* 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper

* 1 1/4 oz. very thinly sliced prosciutto, (about 3 slices), cut into 12 long strips

* 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

* 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

* 1 Tbs. lemon juice

* 1/4 tsp. sea salt

* Freshly ground pepper, to taste

* 12 oz. baby spinach

Preparation;

1. Place rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper.

Wrap 1 piece of prosciutto around each scallop.

Thread 3 scallops crosswise onto each skewer (securing the prosciutto to the scallop) and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Broil until just cooked through, about 6 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Reserve 1 Tbs. vinaigrette in a small bowl.

4. Place spinach in a colander and rinse under cold water.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

When hot, add handfuls of spinach (with water still clinging to it) to the pan and cook, stirring, until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the spinach and add to the medium bowl; toss to coat with the vinaigrette.

Divide the spinach among 4 plates and top each portion with 3 scallops.

Drizzle the scallops with the reserved vinaigrette.

Chef's Tips;

* Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: Four 10-inch metal or bamboo skewers

* Note: Be sure to buy “dry” sea scallops (scallops that have not been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP).

Scallops that have been treated with STP (“wet” scallops) have been subjected to a chemical bath and are not only mushy and less flavorful, but will not brown properly.

Nutrition;

Per serving

239 Calories;

14 g. Fat (3 g. Saturated, 8 g. Mono-unsaturated);

47 mg. Cholesterol;

6 g. Carbohydrates;

23 g. Protein;

2 g. Fiber;

620 mg. Sodium;

782 mg. Potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin-A (100% daily value), Magnesium (31% dv), Folate & Vitamin-C (30% dv), Potassium (22% dv)

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