Knowing how to clean scallops can make a big difference. When the scallop is whole and in its shell, you just need a high-quality knife to open the shell. As a saltwater clam, it’s very much like any bivalve shellfish. These are a great delicacy and go very well alone, or in something like a homemade chowder.
How to Clean Scallops
Take a thin, flexible knife with a seven-inch blade. To avoid injury hold the scallop with a cloth as you will be entering the shell sharp end first and the sharp end can slip through the other end of the shell. A flexible knife is necessary because once you insert the knife into the gap, the shellfish will clamp down on the blade. This closing action comes from a strong white muscle near the ‘hinge’ of the shell. So when you insert the knife you want to glide it through so that it cuts this top muscle. This is the part we all know as the scallop.
Remove the Top Shell
Once you’ve got through the muscle, the top shell should come off easily. The shell should now have two pieces of meat. The flat piece is known as the mantel or bib. And on the other side, you should have the ‘scallop’ we all know. Attached to the scallop will be ‘the roe’, which is that orange piece of meat, and a dark black organ known as the ‘belly’ or ‘liver’. Surrounding this should be a ring of dark orange meat known as ‘the mantle’.
Remove the ‘liver’
The belly or liver contains grit and other things inside so it’s good to cut this portion off and discard it. The rest of the parts each have a different texture.
With your fingers, you can lift up the orange part of the scallop to reveal the gills which look almost like feathers. Clip these off as they can have a not so delicious flavour. This part comes out very easily, leaving you with the scallop (the adductor muscle), the roe and the mantle. You can leave these pieces on the shell as it will help the scallop keep its shape and meaty texture.
The Final Cut and Rinse
You can then remove the mantle from the other side of the shell. the dark orange gills can be carved off and placed on the other shell with the scallop. If at any point you notice grit in the shell you can give it a rinse under tap water. This means your scallops are now prepared and ready to be cooked! Of course, if you’d rather not do all this yourself you can have fresh catch delivered straight to your door. We can take care of all the difficult parts so all you need to do is cook and eat it.
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