Friday, March 20, 2009

Ingredient Guru: The Bay Scallop

Gordon Ramsay fans and foodies around the world must surely know the Sea Scallop is a popular staple of fine dining around the world. That buttery, savory seafood taste that rolls off the tongue echoes through the palate like a Mozart concerto on a sunny day. It's a staple of most fine dining starter menus and tapas style restaurants in those tres chique parts of town.

But the Sea Scallops retarded younger brother is every bit as tasty, if not smaller, and I think less demanding on the stove. They're smaller but can be stir-fryed in butter and garlic much easier. They cook through much simpler and brown easier. They're great in pasta sauce and even go great in stuffing for chicken and other poultry.

I've tried both but find the bay scallops to be somewhat stronger in flavour. The Atlantic scallops I buy are small about a half an inch wide and are caught off the coast of Cape Breton Island. According to this site there are four distinct species.

One of my favourite recipes is the simplest:

Garlic Penne with Bay Scallops and Snap Peas


2 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced (substitute 1 tsp of garlic powder)
1 tbsp of thyme leaves
1/2 lb of Bay scallops
1/2 cup each sugar snap peas, green beans, yellow zucchini
300 grams of Penne (or substitute any pasta)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Boil salted water and add Penne.
1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan and add garlic over medium-low heat.
2. When the garlic is browned slightly, add teh thyme and the scallops. Saute until the scallops start to turn brown and lose their greyness.
3. Add the vegetables and stir until heated through and the vegetables are slightly tender but still slightly crunchy.
4. Drain the pasta when cooked al dente (or slightly more), and plate with the scallops and vegetables on top.
5. Season to taste.

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