What are Scallops

Hungry for some seafood? Why not try scallops? But before enjoying them as your meal, you might want to learn some very interesting facts about this bivalve:

What are scallops, really? Scallops are edible bivalves that are part of the oyster family, and they are very similar to clams. They however, have a very distinct appearance: the scallop shell is highly regular, and it is a very common decorative motif. The term “scalloped edges” refers to the appearance of the scallop shell. In addition, scallops are distinct from oysters or clams in that the muscle that controls the hinges of its shell (the point which enables it to open and close) are much larger and more developed than that of the oysters or clams. Scallops are highly-prized as a seafood cuisine, both in Western and Eastern dishes.

What parts of the scallops are eaten? What’s peculiar about scallops is that there are two types of meat you can get from them: the white and meaty shell muscle (the one that controls the hinges of the shell, as mentioned in number 1) called “scallop,” and the red or white and soft fleshy part called “roe”. In the United States, the “scallop” part is the only part prepared as a dish, while the roe is discarded. The size of the “scallop” muscle can go from about half an inch in diameter (for scallops harvested from fresh waters, also called bay scallops), to about 2 inches (for those from the sea).

How do scallops taste like and how are they usually prepared? Scallops are known for their sweet and delicate flavor, and they are also very tender. In order to avoid overpowering their subtle taste, they are usually prepared with mild sauce of cream, cheese or butter. They can also be breaded, deep fried, or served with light white wine.

What are other interesting facts about scallops? Scallops are the only migratory bivalves, in that they do not attach themselves to permanent anchorage like others. They move themselves through the water through opening and closing their shells (hence their well-developed hinge muscles). They are found  in all of the world’s oceans, and they can be found in bay waters as well. Bay water scallops are much smaller than sea scallops. Scallops eat plankton, and they are not able to survive outside of water.

What is the scallop shell’s shape? The scallop shell is used a lot in symbolism and design. The widely-recognized Shell Oil sign is actually a scallop. The shell is also associated with the painting, “The Birth of Venus,” which shows Venus emerging from a scallop shell. It is also commonly used in designing coats of arms, and crusaders of the Order of St. James used it as a symbol.

There you have it! These are just some highly interesting facts about scallops. So the next time you enjoy your meal of scallops, you would have  some interesting facts to talk about with the other people eating with you! Good luck!


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