Here in ‘Merica bay scallops are pristine little nuggets void of any traces of the biological necessities of digestive or reproductive systems.* Fresh, sweet, and innocent, bay scallops are the polar opposite of the mysterious nimbus of oyster innards or the marginally gruesome black skins one need pull from the necks of steamers.
Of all the delicious bivalves only scallops have adductor muscles significant enough to make a meal of. Skittering over the watery floors of East Hampton’s bays and harbors, scallops resemble calcified butterflies on the move.
It’s wild, seriously. You’ve got to see this: click for an amazing swimming scallop video.
Bay scallops also have 18 beady eyes that peer out of the shells. Spooky!
But not scary enough to deter our intrepid neighbor Nancy. You should be so lucky to have a neighbor Nancy. An avid bay man (bay woman?) Nancy is lady bountiful with her harvests. On warm summer days it’s not unusual for her to come around with a basket of quahogs, a mere hour or two separating them from their salty lairs. Now that the chill of winter has set in Nancy will drop by after a frigid morning in her waders with scallops** You can almost detect a look of surprise on those 18 eyes. Almost.
With a gift this wonderful it would be criminal to discard the majority of the tasty beasts. Whole steamed scallops make a hearty, toothsome dish. The inclusion of all their junk imparts a deeper flavor adding layers of briny complexity to the familiar, more delicate taste.
*Scallops are often eaten in their entirety in Europe and elsewhere I imagine.
** The day this photograph was taken Nancy had shucked the scallops.
STEAMED FRESH NAPPEAGUE HARBOR BAY SCALLOPS
Use only live, fresh scallops. Live scallops close when touched.
Wipe off the shells with a clean dishcloth under running water.
Fill a heavy lidded pot with 2″ of water. Layer the scallops in the water, cover and bring to a boil. The scallops are cooked through when the shells open up. Note: they do not open wide like a hard shell clam but they definitely open.
Remove the opened scallops from the pot. Flip off the top shell with a pair of tongs. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
Three or four make a nice appetizer-sized serving.Print This Post