Years ago, while watching a cooking show, I heard a nutritionist state that if they were forced to eat only one food for the rest of their life they would choose Scallops. The assertion was that as a source of important nutrients, they simply couldn’t be beaten.
I’m not sure how thouroughly researched that claim was, but it stuck with me because I simply love to eat scallops! Recently I decided that I need to incorporate more seafood into my diet and I went looking for some nutritional information on my old favorite. Here now is everything you ever wanted to know about the king of the mollusks!
The George Mateljan Foundation, a non-profit organization, offers this description for those not so familiar with the scallop:
The soft fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavor of scallops are enjoyed by even those who are not particularly fond of fish or other shellfish. The season for fresh sea scallops and bay scallops runs from October through March, while fresh calico scallops are available from December through May. Sea scallops and frozen scallops are available year-round.
Scallops are mollusks that have two beautiful convexly ridged, or scalloped, shells. They consist of two shells hinged at one end which is why they are known to marine biologists as bi-valve mollusks. The edible portion of the scallop 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.
Here’s what Men’s Health magazine had to say about them in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue:
Though lobster and shrimp get all the love, scallops remain some of the most delicious shellfish to grace the seas. And their nutritional profile can put most other sea creatures to shame. “With 112 calories and 23 grams of protein, sea scallps offer a great calorie value for the nutiritoin they provide, including plenty of cancer-fighting b12.” says D. Milton Stokes, a spokesmand for the American Dietetic Association.
And they’re simple to cook: Place four large scallps in the center of a big piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Top with thinly sliced onions, carrots, and red bell peppers. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then seal the package tightly. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 12 minutes.
Personally, my favorite way to prepare them is as follows:
- Lightly coat a skillet with high quality olive oil and heat the pan over medium heat.
- Drop in the scallops and turn the heat up to high. Let them sear to a nice golden color for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Season lightly with fresh ground pepper, sea salt, and a small squeeze of lemon.
Man, that makes me hungry! I’ll be preparing a quick and easy Scallop based meal soon and I’ll put up complete instructions.