Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Live Scallops, As Good As It Gets

BlackSalt is getting a treat shipped directly to the market today that I usually get really excited about.  We are expecting a shipment from a company in MA that deals directly with the fishermen who harvest live sea scallops.  I believe that eating scallops live is the best way to have them and an experience that will change the way you buy scallops.

Most scallops you get served in restaurants and markets are treated in some way or frozen at sea.  Some of the finer establishments will serve what they call "dry" scallops but even these can be labeled as such as long as their time in a saline mixture is less than 24 hours.  Confusing, I know, but there are worse options out there.  The 24 hour "dry" is a good product and necessary for keeping scallops fresher longer.  We buy scallops at BlackSalt that have never been dipped in any solution.  These are beautiful and are a true treat, but they do not keep long.  The shelf-life on these scallops is shortened because they come off the knife and into the bucket, then they hit our stand not too far removed from the boat.

Here is an important point: The less your seafood is handled and the closer you buy it from the boat, the fresher and tastier it is.  This being said, I do not believe you can get a better scallop than one you purchase still alive.  The company we are purchasing from operates right on the docks and buys directly from day-boats, ensuring that you are getting product at its freshest, shipped from the arriving boats the same day.  The scallops are harvested using a pump dredge and then filtered for two hours on board a vessel named The Jessica Susan. She operates on the outer Cape to harvest these beautiful scallops and her captain is Rodney Alvilla.  The scallop inside the shell averages to be about a 10/20 scallop, that means you get about 10 to 20 scallop meats per pound.  If you are lucky you might get a female that has a beautiful red roe sac attached to the meat.  Do not discard this delicacy, served with the scallop intact it will intensify your experience.  In Europe, this is often the only way scallops are served, with the roe attached.  The Europeans may be ahead of us in this matter, for I find that scallops with the roe attached are an all too uncommon dining extravagance.   As far as the flavor, well I believe it is the taste of a scallop at its purest, but you'll have to go by BlackSalt to see for yourself.

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