You want to prepare something special but no time to cook? Scallops are the perfect food for the occasion.
Scallops are a marine bivalve mollusk (similar to mussels and oysters) found in the oceans all over the world. The name scallop comes from the French ‘escalope,’ which means shell. The shells are sometimes bright colored and have the characteristic fluted fan shape.
They do not anchor to rocks but lay on the bottom of ocean floor where they move, opening and closing the shell. To do this, they have a very large muscle, much larger than those of other mollusks. The internal body has two main parts: a bright orange ‘tongue’ and a large white muscle.
While the whole organism is edible (in Europe and in the East they eat it entirely like oysters) in the US only the white muscle is eaten. It looks like a white solid cylinder of flesh. The flavor is very delicate and is generally prepared with mild, butter based sauces to avoid covering its taste.
Here is a simple and delicious recipe that can be arranged in a few minutes.
Scallops are sauteed with extra-virgin olive oil and garlic, and flavored with fresh basil leaves. The flour cover and the lemon juice will develop into a mouth watering sauce in which you can dip your bread. Use smaller, softer Bay Scallops and they will be sweeter tasting and simply scrumptious.
1 lb (450 g) shelled scallops
salt and pepper
flour for dusting
2 – 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, mashed
2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
Dredge lightly in the flour.
Shake away the excess flour.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the scallops.
Reduce heat to medium high and sauté for about 2 minutes on all sides.
Add the butter . . .
. . . a squeeze of lemon . . .
. . . the mashed garlic. . .
. . . and basil, and cook for 2 more minutes until golden and just firm. Serve warm.