Newfoundland scallop harvesting

Recently my man with pan took a week off to go cold water diving in Newfoundland. This is hardcore scuba diving, folks. My intrepid hubby and his friends will go to no end of trouble and discomfort to explore the seabed.

The water temperature off the coasts of Bell Island, NFLD in early summer is usually around 5ºC (40ºF). Good temperature for storing chip dip but not for a skinny dip if you know what I mean.

Although this temperature may not be comfortable for mammals like me, it’s ideal for sea scallops. The picture above shows Martin holding one of the scallops he and his dive party harvested in Conception Bay. They ate some raw on the boat but took the rest back to their hotel where Martin pan-fried them to create a feast for his party.

Although readers in most parts of Canada are unlikely to be able to get scallops this fresh, you can find scallops this size and quality at many fishmongers. Here are a few tips for choosing and cooking scallops.

• Ask for untreated scallops. They will cost more but the taste will be sweeter and cleaner than other scallops, which have been coated in preservatives.
• Look for scallops that are evenly sized so that they cook uniformly. The choicest size (pictured above) is U10.

• Remove the knob shaped muscle on the side of each scallop before cooking. This is the connective muscle that fastened the meat to the shell. Once cooked it will be very rubbery and tasteless.
• Rinse the scallops under very cold water before preparing. Drain well and then pat completely dry on paper towel before seasoning and cooking. Adding wet scallops to a hot pan will not only cause spattering but will prevent scallops from browning.
• Don’t crowd the pan. The scallops shouldn’t touch one another while they cook if you want a golden crust to develop.
• Use a combination of oil and butter to sauté scallops so that you get maximum browning but still develop great flavour.

Have you ever caught fresh scallops? If so, how did you prepare them?


11 Responses to Newfoundland scallop harvesting

  1. Beth says:

    Holy moly! That’s one big scallop. Were they all that size?

  2. danamccauley says:

    Yes, I think they were all this size. They only harvested the grand daddy’s.

  3. These look amazing! My husband doesn’t like seafood, so I tend to eat it only in restaurants. These beauties are convincing me I might have to cook some for myself and let him barbecue some steak.

    When I used to cook scallops more often, I dredged them in flour, seared then in pan and then topped them in a white wine, garlic and lemon sauce. Garnish? Cilantro, of course.

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m preparing scallops tonight! But I’m unsure how.. I seem to have cooked them a zillion ways and am looking for something new.. course, knowing me – I’ll be so tired after work that I’ll just end up lightly seasoning them and then panfrying with some taters on the side..

    Is that your favorite way? To saute them?


  5. danamccauley says:

    Charmian, that sounds great!

    Lisa, I hope my tips above help you to have scallop cooking success! I do like pan fried scallops very much. I also like them grilled and served with buttered pasta.

    Now my stomach is growling!

  6. Cheryl says:

    My mom used to overcook scallops horribly when I was little, so I grew up a little scared of them. But I’ve recently re-discovered them in a very big way and can now appreciate their delicate flavor and almost creamy texture. The one Martin is holding looks like a real beauty!

  7. dinnerwithjulie says:

    Why does my husband go shopping for new CDs instead of fishing for scallops??
    Never done it, but we will be crabbing in Tofino next week!

  8. Kim says:

    Dana, I am deathly allergic to scallops, but loved the interesting story. I do clam though.

  9. Marie says:

    I just made grilled scallops last night, so this picture caught my eye that is what you call Fresh!! I could just imagine the taste of these!! Daring Hubby you have!

  10. Just killing some in between class time on Digg and I found your article . Not typically what I like to learn about, but it was certainly worth my time. Thanks.

  11. I do believe all of the ideas you’ve offered in your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

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