I was about 25 years old when I was introduced to scallops. I was taking French cooking classes, and one of the first recipes we made was Coquilles Saint-Jacques/Scallops in White Wine Sauce. It was love at first bite. Along with developing a love for scallops, I got a quick education about them.
I did not know there were two main kinds of scallops. I prefer the big sea scallops (these are seasonal) that have a more pronounced taste, and their large size stands up better in recipes that are grilled or seared. The smaller scallops are the bay scallops, and these are available all year. Scallops are so versatile you can use them in everything from chowders and stews to salads and stir-fries. In addition, they are loaded with vitamins, proteins, minerals and omega-3 fish oils, so they are very healthful. Chefs consider them the safest shellfish to eat because they are shucked at sea and frozen or iced immediately.
“Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook” by Elaine and Karin Tammi (Pelican Publishing Company) is a comprehensive cookbook loaded with history, information, tips (especially on how to buy, store and clean), and great recipes.
Cape Cod Scallop Chowder
A huge bowl of this appetizing chowder is very satisfying as a lunch in winter. We do not use flour and have opted for cream. Yukon Gold potatoes make the chowder creamier.
Serves 4 to 6
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
2 onions, chopped
4 cups bottled clam juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut up
1 cup evaporated milk or cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 lb. bay scallops, or 1/2 lb. sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed, patted dry and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Common crackers (optional)
Large sauce pan
Sauté bacon in large sauce pan about 5 minutes, remove bacon, and drain well. Use drippings to sauté onions, or remove drippings and add butter. Using the same pan, sauté onions over medium heat until onions turn yellow, about 11 minutes. Add clam juice, white wine and potatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add milk or cream and bacon if desired. In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of butter. Sauté scallops until light golden, about 2 minutes, or sauté 1/2 lb. of scallops at a time. Add scallops to chowder and heat thoroughly. Season chowder to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chowder into serving bowls and sprinkle with paprika. Makes about 6 bowls, depending on size. Serve with common crackers.
Scallop Crab Cakes
Combine scallops and fresh crabmeat for a delicious entrée or appetizer. Serves 4 as an entrée and 8 as an appetizer. This can also be eaten as a sandwich with tartar sauce.
1/4 lb. bay scallops, trimmed, rinsed, patted dry, and left whole
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup light cream
1 lb. jumbo fresh crabmeat (cleaned)
2 tablespoons tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
3 drops Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges
Tartar sauce (optional)
Place the scallops, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until thoroughly blended. With the blender running, add the cream in a slow, steady stream until incorporated. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the crabmeat, tomato, mustard, cilantro, and Tabasco and gently mix. Shape the crab mixture into 8 patties, about 3/4-inch thick and 2 1/2-inches across. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and no more than 4 hours. Place the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a plate. Just before cooking, dredge the patties in the flour mixture. Heat the oil in a large, heavy, cast-iron skillet. Sauté the crab cakes over medium-high heat for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately with lime wedges and tartar sauce, if desired.
Editor’s Note: For more edible delights by Sheilah Kaufman, go to www.cookingwithsheilah.com.