Marco Polo mentions seeing scallops in fish markets in China. In medieval times, the scallop was called "escalope" or "shell" and the shell was used for scooping food and for begging. Since this practice was prevalent at the Shrine of St. James, it was called "Shell of St. James." St. James was a fisherman in Galilea and then an apostle. He is believed to be buried in Spain, a pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostela. Scallop shells make up the road to Santiago.
Scallops are rich in vitamin B12 and phosphorus. They are a good source of magnesium and potassium and many trace elements. Scallops are a very lean source of protein (80 percent) and they provide over 80 nutrients! They are low in calories and provide a tremendous energy source. Their dietary benefits are indeed impressive, and they are plentiful in many parts of the world. Although scallop availability was down in 2016, they have rebounded in 2017. The demand for scallops, from a global perspective, is increasing.
- Lower blood pressure
- Relax blood vessels
- Improve circulation, prevent stroke
- Reduce risk of heart attack
- Reduce risk of blood clots
- Control cholesterol (Omega 3 fatty acid)
- Reduce childhood asthma
- Lower cognitive decline (Alzheimer's disease)e
- Improve mood
Along with their delicious taste, scallops promote cardiovascular health (B12) and provide resistance to colon cancer. When B12 is deficient, osteoporosis is more frequent among women. In addition to B12, magnesium and potassium provide great cardiovascular benefits. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and potassium maintains normal blood pressure levels. Medical findings support improvements in heart function in as little time as 2 weeks from Omega 3 fatty acids found in scallops. They are extremely good for you!
They are a smart addition to a dietary plan since they are low in calories, high in protein. Use of low-fat methods of cooking: grilling, broiling, steaming or sauteing reduces calories. The flesh is sweet and is great when cooked with garlic, onions and herbs.
There are many delicious ways to enjoy scallops. Here are 3 tried and true recipes you may want to try:Garlic-Lemon Scallops
3/4 cup butter
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 pounds large sea scallops
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
(1) Melt butter in pan. Add garlic until aromatic. Stir in scallops, cooking each side until done
(2)Put on a dish and cover with seasonings, then sauce
The next recipe is best if bay scallops are used.Baked Scallops
4 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
(1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees
(2)Place scallops and butter in 2 quart casserole dish
(3)Mix the bread crumbs and other ingredients and pour over scallops
(4)Bake until scallops are done - approximately 20 minutesLemon-Basil Scallops
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp chopped basil
(1) Grate the lemon zest, separate 1/4 tsp. Squeeze lemon, save 2 tbsp juice. Pat
scallops with towel to dry.
(2) Season scallops with 1/8 tsp salt and pepper. Melt 2 tsp butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add scallops and turn until done. Set aside.
(3) Add wine and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 2 minutes. Add water and cornstarch and cook while stirring until sauce thickens. Add set aside lemon rind and 1 tsp butter plus rest of salt, pepper and basil.
(4) Pour over scallops
These recipes are sure to please and are nutritionally dense. Enjoy!
- Scallops are animals
- They are bivalves (explained below)
- Scallops are good swimmers
- They have unique, recognizable shells
- Scallops have lots of eyes
- They are found worldwide
- Scallops can grow up to 9 inches
- Scallops are a muscle
- They reproduce by spawning
What are scallops anyway? They are a Phylum Mollusca, included in the snails, oysters, clams, octopus, and squid group of animals. Scallops are bivalves, meaning they have 2 hinged shells formed from calcium carbonate. Their abductor muscle allows them to open and close their shells. That muscle is the round part which is edible.
Unbelievably, scallops are free-swimmers. They clap their shells together, which propels them through the water quickly. This is an amazing, entertaining sight. They may sense the presence of a predator, such as a starfish, and use their jet propulsion system.
Scallop shells may be the most recognizable shells, shaped like fans with ridges. If you are a seashell beachcomber, you are sure to have many more of these than other shells.
Scallops have amazing physical attributes. They have approximately 60 eyes around their mantel. Scallops eat by filtering plankton through the water. They like sandy bottoms but may attach to rocks. Atlantic sea scallops can grow up to 9 inches in length. Bay scallops are smaller and may be more delicate in flavor.
At one time consumers believed scallops were a byproduct punched out from a skate's wings. Skates are bottom dwelling shark relatives. They had no idea how unique the abductor muscle (the scallop) is. Now there is global acknowledgement of the scallop, admiration for it, and increased demand for it.
Scallops can be found worldwide. What an interesting, delicious creature!