So you picked up a bag of Niantic Bay Scallops from The Market… now what?
Keep them Fresh
When purchasing scallops from Niantic Bay Shellfish farm you will receive them alive and in their shell. Bay Scallops are very delicate and need to be handled with care. We recommend enjoying them the same day you purchase them as scallops are pulled and sold on the same day. Leaving your scallops in their bag until you are ready to enjoy them will encourage your scallops to remain closed, thus retaining their moisture and staying fresh. Place your bag of scallops in a bowl (preferably metal), cover the bowl with a slightly damp towel to create a humid environment for your scallops and put the entire bowl in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare your scallops. Scallops are culled before packing but before enjoying, be sure to sort out any that may have died in the interim. Scallops that appear to be gaping open and do not close back up on their own should not be consumed. If you are unsure of the viability of any individual scallops, set them to the side for a couple of minutes, if they close up they are safe to eat, if not, dispose of them.
Just before consuming your bay scallops, you will want to give them a quick rinse. Transfer your scallops from their bag into a colander in your sink. Using cold water and the spray function on your faucet, rinse the scallops with cold water, tossing the scallops consistently to hit all sides. Your scallops are ready to be prepared!
Shucking Bay Scallops
If intending to sauté your scallops or enjoy them raw, the first step will be to shuck them. For those of you used to shucking oysters and clams, you will find this process much less an act of force and much more one of delicate precision. Anyone with reasonable dexterity in their hands will be able to open bay scallops.
To shuck a scallop you will need either a clam knife or a specialized scallop knife. These knives differ from oyster knives in that they have a short blade allowing for easy maneuverability and are made of a thinner, more flexible metal with a rounded tip.
Step 1: Insert blade in the gap between the two valves (shells) near the hinge.
Step 2: Sever the adductor muscle on the top side of the scallop and discard the top shell.
The adductor muscle will still be firmly attached to the bottom shell, surrounded by the scallop’s gills and organs.
Step 3: Remove gills and organs leaving just the adductor muscle.
Step 4: Sever the adductor muscle on the bottom as close to the shell as possible.
Step 5: Prepare meat as desired.
See Also, The Niantic Bay Scallop: History and Culture