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Scallops Are Bivalves
Fish and Seafood
Winter Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(4) pages: 9 to 11
There are three types of scallops, and all are bivalves.
They are sea scallops, bay scallops,
and Calico scallops. All have thin
shells, thinner than those of clams
or oysters, and their shapes are
easily recognizable. They resemble
those seen on Shell Oil gas station
These sea creatures have about
fifty blue or turquoise eyes found
on their inner shells near the front
edges. These creatures do not
dig in the sand beneath them as
clams do, they just swim about and
jump, too, in their habitats near the
bottom where they live.
In the US, most are harvested in three locations in or
near Bedford MA, Cape May NJ, and Norfolk VA. Most
can be purchased at or near these places or other places
where fish and seafood are sold. We must advise that
not all are scallops, some are simply circles cut out of
white-colored fish flesh.
It is illegal to sell them so labeled, but there are
unscrupulous merchants who do cut them and sell
them mislabeled as such. They make lots of money
so doing, and it is difficult to tell when they are raw,
easier when they are cooked, and when not attached
to the bottom half of their shell. The texture is very
different as to how they break apart. Real scallops do
so straight up and down, fake ones do so as fish flakes,
on an angle. If you are suspicious, ask the merchant to
us a spoon and see how they come apart.
Real scallops break apart mostly straight up and down,
not on a slope as fish does when cooked. If suspicious,
when buying yours, ask the merchant to break one
apart gently, and look closely as he or she does that.
Scallops swim freely but are anchored, that is their
muscle. That is what the flesh is called, attached to the
bottom half of the shell. If just sitting on it, be very
The FDA advises these shellfish should not be soaked
in any liquid at their point of sale. But what cannot be
tested is their weight, usually three and a half ounces
or ninety calories, and that they usually have seventeen
grams of protein, are low in sodium, and have just one
In the US, Calico scallops are only harvested in the
Virginia location. They and bay scallops are small,
their diameter usually less than an inch but can be
twice that. Sea scallops are
about two inches in diameter
but can be three times that
size. Calico scallops are the
smallest, can be the darkest,
and are best dry-packed.
They are lowest in moisture,
and can have annual rings,
though most are young and do
not when they are sold. Bay
and Calico scallops can have
male and female organs, but
at the age most are harvested,
they do not, or they have been
Sea scallops, are Plactopecten
magellanicus most others are Argopectin irradiens.
The former can live up to thirty years, but more
commonly are a year or two before being harvested.
All are best dry-packed, but rarely are when sold
fresh. Most people do not know that bay scallops are
the official shell fish of New York State; we did not
until doing research for this article.
There are many recipes for scallops, almost all adored
by the Chinese. They say they are delicious. Our
favorite is to cook them empty shells as seen on this
page. Bay and Calico scallops made in pigeon egg
shells make a phenomenal presentation, but effort to
do so using the recipe we love to look at does take lots
of time. Truth be told, we only did so once and with
a friend who had more patience than we did to empty
the shells of their raw content and then fill them as
the recipe required.
One other comment, love to use dried scallops called
conpoy, and shred them into very thin sticks vertical
to where they sit and use these to flavor other foods.
We hope you enjoy the recipes that follow. You
can use any scallop
variety, but do need
to adjust the cooking
|Scallops, Fruit, and Vegetables|
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound fresh sea scallops, each cut horizontally in half making two thin circles
5 asparagus, each cut in one-inch pieces, and on an angle
3 thin carrots, peeled and cut in strips similar as the asparagus
5 slices fresh ginger, peeled and cut in thin strips
1 cup drained canned lychees, each cut in half
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1. Heat a wok or fry pan, add the scallops and stir-fry
them then remove and set them aside after just
one minute. Discard any oil and add and stir-fry the
carrots, for one minute, then add the asparagus and
stir-fry one minute more.
2. Mix cornstarch with three Tablespoons cold water,
stir and bring to the boil, and when the sauce thickens,
add the lychees.
3. Put all in a pre-heated bowl, toss the coriander
garnish on top, and serve.
|Conpoy with Vegetables|
3 conpoy soaked overnight
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup string beans, simmered for two minutes in the broth or water, then angle cut in one-inch lengths, the ends discarded if not young
5 water chestnuts, cut in thin sliced circles
1 stalk celery, angle-cut in half-inch pieces, each cut in half the long way
1/4 red pepper, seeded, then angle-cut in half-inch strips
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and mashed
3 slices fresh ginger, peeled and slivered
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1. Prepare conpoy simmering it in chicken broth for
half an hour, then pull it apart into thin strips.
2. Heat a wok or fry-pan, add the oil, they stir-fry the
four vegetables for one minute, then stir in half the
conpoy stir for two minutes, and put in a pre-heated
3. Sprinkle the rest of the conpoy on top, and serve.
1/4 pound scallops, each cut in half as two circles
5 slices fresh peeled ginger
2 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon water chestnut powder
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
dash ground white pepper
1/4 pound shrimp, shells and veins discarded, then the shrimp minced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, divided
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon rendered chicken fat
1 egg white
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 sprigs fresh coriander, coarsely minced
1. Marinate scallop halves in mixture of ginger, rice
wine, water chestnut powder, sesame oil, and ground
white pepper for half an hour.
2. Mix minced shrimp with half the cornstarch, all the
salt and sugar, and all the chicken fat, and egg white.
Stuff this mixture between two scallop halves and
gently press them together.
3. Dust with the rest of the cornstarch and set aside for
half an hour or until starch seems wet.
4. Heat a wok or fry-pan, add oil, and fry the scallop
sandwich until lightly colored on both sides, then
drain them on paper towels.
5. Put these sandwiches on a pre-heated platter, and
|Scallops and Eggs|
10 egg shells their tops cut off so they look like cups, the eggs separated into two bowls
1 cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt, divided
3 Tablespoons fresh spinach, stems discarded, leaves blanched half minute, then minced, excess water squeezed out and discarded
3 fresh sea scallops, steamed for three minutes, cut into thin strips, then minced
1 conpoy, soaked for an hour in warm water, then torn in thin strips, then minced
3 medium shrimp, shells and veins discarded, then minced
3 Tablespoons minced cooked chicken breast
1 large shiitake mushroom, stem discarded, cap finely minced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rendered chicken fat
1 cup raw rice set in a bowl to hold uncooked egg shells, and set them in it
½ cup cooked bean thread noodles
1. Carefully rinse and drain egg shells and trim them
evenly around their tops.
2. Strain and discard chalaza (the thick white part of the
eggs) and mix with the salt.
3. Lightly beat egg yolks and set them aside.
4. Mix minced scallops and conpoy, the shrimp, chicken
breast, and the mushrooms, and set this aside.
5. Mix pepper, rendered chicken fat, and cornstarch
mixture and the scallop mixture and fill empty egg
shells halfway, then steam them over boiling water for
fifteen minutes, then cool them.
6. Mix egg yolks, drained spinach, and put into the
halfway filled egg shells and steam five more minutes.
7. Boil cornstarch mixture, then peel and discard egg
shells, and put them on a platter, the bean threads
8. Next mix ground pepper, chicken fat, and cornstarch
and pour this over the eggs, then serve.