Exploring Scallops: Insights and Bay Scallop Recipes

scallops in the shell

Scallops are a must-have product for every seafood restaurant worldwide. So what are the scallops divided into? Where do the best scallops come from? How to choose high-quality scallops? What precautions do you need to take when cooking scallops? how to defrost scallops? etc…

I will teach these practical secrets about scallops. Hoping that everyone can help them when choose and purchase scallops.

Scallops categories

Scallops belong to marine shellfish, and currently, the mainstream scallops in China can be divided into Sea scallops, Chlamys farreri, Bay scallops, Pen scallops, and Golden scallops. Sea scallops are considered a must-have in seafood restaurants.

Scallops can be farmed or scallop wild; Once harvesting scallops, they can be processed into fresh whole shells, frozen half shells, scallops meat, dried scallops, and other seafood-related products. 

Sea scallops can be divided into two types: aquaculture and catching scallops in the ocean, especially cage hanging and bottom sowing techniques. Bay scallops and golden scallops are often usually in this way. 

Half shell scallops is a frozen product made from Sea scallops. There are two types of half-shell scallops: combination scallops (the shell and meat are not together, but combination scallops are cheaper) and integrated scallops (the meat inside is all integrated). Combination scallops are usually cheaper than combination scallops.

scallops in the half shell
scallops in the half shell

How to distinguish five types of scallops?

In terms of size:

Sea scallops: Half shell sea scallops are generally 5-6; 6-7; 7-8; 8-9; 9-10,10-12; 12-14CM, sea scallops meat: 21-25; 26-30; 31-35 capsules/KG.

Chlamys farreri: The smallest one, the larger one is about 6-8cm

Bay scallops: slightly smaller than summer scallops, but generally fresh and processed in the market

Golden shellfish: Larger than Chlamy farreri

Pen scallop: It looks like a waist and is the largest in size

In terms of color:

Sea scallops: White brown, the surface of the shell is generally purple brown, light brown, yellow brown, reddish brown, apricot yellow, gray white, etc. The inner surface of the shell is white

sea scallop on the shell
sea scallop on the shell

Chlamys farreri: The shell is red in color, also known as small red scallops, with thorns on its surface, which other scallops do not have.

chalmys farreri
chalmys farreri

Bay scallops: The shell is black brown or brown in color

bay scallop crudo
bay scallop crudo

Golden shell: The shell is golden yellow

Golden scallops
Golden scallops

Pen scallops: The shell meat looks like a kidney, white.

pen scallops
pen scallops

Where do the best scallops come from China?

Sea scallops, also known as “带子”(Chinese) or “PATINOPECTEN YESSOENSIS”, is divided into aquaculture and sea fishing. The hanging cage aquaculture method, also known as hanging shellfish, is commonly used in Shandong (Changdao, Weihai, Penglai, Shidao, Wendeng) and Liaoning (Dalian, Changshan Island, Haiyang Island, Zhangzi Island). Wild sea scallops are also known as ground sown shellfish and bottom sown shellfish, with the majority of them in Donggang and Korea. Summer scallops are the most suitable for barbecue, available all year round. They tend to be thinner in summer and are more expensive during the wild ban period.

Chlamy farreri, also known as “Farrer’s scallop”, are mainly cultivated and produced along the northern coast of China. The main producing areas are Changdao, Weihai, Penglai, Shidao, Wendeng in Shandong, Dalian, Changshan Island in Liaoning, and other places. Generally used for making fresh or frozen scallop meat. There are four seasons throughout the year. If it’s hot in summer, you may lose some weight, but if it’s cold, you’ll be very fat.

Bay scallops: also known as “Argopecten irradians”, they are mainly farmed and concentrated in Shandong, Liaoning, and Hebei. It can be harvested year-round, with better quality in spring. It is mostly cultivated in Qinhuangdao, Hebei and is generally used for making frozen scallops, including fresh scallops (scallops, scallops), dried scallops, and Hemmed scallop.

Golden scallops: Most of them are farmed, with Zhanjiang in Guangdong, Beihai in Guangxi, and Zhangzhou in Fujian being the most commonly farmed areas. Generally used for making fresh or vermicelli scallops, half shell scallops.

Pen Scallops: mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical coastal areas, with the highest yield in Guangdong and Fujian coastal areas in China.

how to find scallops that taste great?

For fresh scallops:

1. You should choose scallops with a consistent and glossy shell color, and uniform size. You should not choose scallops that are too small and do not have much meat.

2. When choosing scallops in a seafood restaurant, be sure to choose live ones to see if the shells are open. Live scallops will close under external forces. Closing the shell at a touch is more energetic.

3. It is best to find a cleaner one, as it will be more convenient for subsequent processing.

4. It is best to choose female scallops during the breeding period, which are more plump.

5. Smell the taste. Normally fresh scallops have a slight fishy odor, but if there is a noticeable fishy odor or other odor, it is not good.

For frozen scallops: Generally, frozen products are processed products, so choosing a trustworthy and guaranteed brand is no problem.

how to defrost scallops?

1. Natural thawing

Put the purchased scallops in a basin and let them sit for a period of time until all the ice melts. However, this method takes a longer time, but it can retain the freshness of the scallops.

2. Thawing by soaking in cold water

Place the frozen scallops in a basin filled with cold water and wait for 1-2 hours for their ice to melt. This method is faster, but it may lose some nutrients.

How to distinguish between wild scallops and farmed scallops?

Wild scallops are usually larger in size, with a smooth and light colored shell, which looks clean and has clear lines. The majority of scallops are Donggang or Dalian scallops, also known as shrimp scallops or ground grown scallops.

Cultivated scallops are usually smaller in size, with an unsmooth shell and many small pits on the back. They are darker in color, have a lot of mud on their bodies, and have unclear patterns. Cultivated scallops, also known as hanging scallops, are scallops that are raised in deep sea using a hanging cage.

Although wild scallops have a beautiful appearance, their taste is far inferior to that of farmed cage scallops.

Freshly dead scallops are no problem even if they are fresh and frozen, as both sides of the shell contain shell meat

How do scallops clean sediment?

The mud on the surface of scallops can be cleaned with a brush to remove any impurities, and then soaked in clean water.

Cleaning method for sediment inside scallops,

1. Soak in sesame oil and salt water:

If time permits, you can use water with sesame oil and salt to soak scallops. One thing to pay attention to when using this method is the temperature of the water. It is best to use water at around 20 degrees Celsius. If you directly use tap water from the faucet, the water temperature is low and scallops do not like to open their mouths. Soak in this method for 2-3 hours, and scallops will spit out a lot of sediment.

2. Shake back and forth:

Find a larger pot or box with a lid, put the scallops in, pour in a little water, and then shake the container back and forth with your hands, with moderate force and not too much. After shaking for two minutes, the scallops become dizzy and spit out a lot of sediment. Wash them with water and shake them again. Repeat three times to get it done.

How do scallops open?

1. Using a small knife, it is recommended to use a knife for Western cuisine. Insert the knife into the shell, gently pry open the scallop with one hand, and then use the knife to gently cut the scallop back and forth along the upper shell, breaking the shell into two and also cutting the flesh inside the shell. At this point, you will see shell meat on both sides of the shell.

2. Once again, place the dining knife against the bottom of the shell and completely remove the meat. In this step, the knife must be tightly pressed against the bottom of the shell to remove the complete shell meat.

How do scallops cook and taste good?

The methods of scallops include steamed garlic minced carbon grilled scallops, garlic minced vermicelli grilled scallops, stir fried scallop meat, etc. When the space is limited, I will write a separate article to explain. If necessary, do some demonstrations for free tasting. For retailers, teaching customers how to cook is also one of the techniques to increase sales.

Scallops must be cooked before they can be eaten. The internal organs of scallops cannot be eaten, including the digestive organs, black internal organs, orange red and yellow gills, and edible white shell pillars and skirt edges.

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