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All about “Scallop”

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Health profile

Like many seafood, the scallop is particularly rich in minerals essential to the body. The high protein and low fat content of this bivalve mollusc gives it an interesting nutritional aspect.

Active ingredients and properties

The active ingredients of the scallop have not been the subject of specific studies. However, there are some studies showing interesting results on the benefits of eating fish and seafood in general. First, a study of more than 14,000 women found that the more they ate fish and seafood, the lower their risk for colorectal cancer . Another study, this time with Chinese men, showed that the weekly consumption of at least one rAEPs of fish or seafood would reduce the risk of fatal myocardial infarction , compared to less consumption 2. At present, the beneficial effects of consuming fish and seafood cannot be associated with any particular active ingredient; clinical studies are necessary in order to identify the components concerned. On the other hand, the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in fish and seafood could have an important role to play.

Omega-3 fatty acids . The scallop contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two fatty acids from the omega-3 family. These act as precursors of chemical messengers promoting good immune, circulatory and hormonal functioning. Several epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (mainly from fatty fish) could exert favorable effects on cardiovascular health , including the reduction of mortality from cardiovascular disease 3 . These fatty acids are known to reduce blood pressure , blood triglycerides and blood clot formation.

Even if the optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids to consume are not firmly established, scientific evidence shows that the daily consumption of 500 mg to 1,800 mg of EPA and DHA would allow to benefit from the benefits which are there. related 4 . A 100 g serving of scallops (about seven large raw scallops) provides about 350 mg. For comparison, the scallop contains about 11 times less omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a fatty fish.

Scallops and methylmercury

Some fish and seafood at the top of the food pyramid contain significant amounts of methylmercury. Methylmercury is a form of organic mercury that is very toxic at high exposure rates. Methylmercury is the most common form of mercury in fish. In humans, methylmercury is easily absorbed into the bloodstream; it is disseminated throughout the body and concentrated in certain points such as the brain and in pregnant women or the developing fetus. Scallops are among the molluscs with a very low concentration of mercury. There is therefore no recommendation on the maximum frequency of consumption of it.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

 Phosphorus. Scallops are an excellent source of phosphorus (see our Phosphorus Nutrients fact sheet ), the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. Aside from its essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, phosphorus participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain the pH of blood in normal. It is also one of the constituents of cell membranes.

 Selenium. Scallops are an excellent source of selenium. Selenium works in conjunction with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

 Vitamin B12. The scallop is an excellent source of vitamin B12, a 100 g serving filling more than 60% of the recommended daily intake. This vitamin works together with folic acid to make red blood cells. It also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.

 Magnesium. The scallop is a good source of magnesium for women and a source of magnesium for men , the latter having higher needs than women. Magnesium participates in bone mineralization, protein construction, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, dental health and the functioning of the immune system.

Iodine. The scallop contains iodine. Iodine is used in the composition of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the regulation of growth, development and metabolism. The exact value of the iodine content of the scallop is not available in the Canadian Nutrient File .

What is a “portion” of scallops worth?
Weight / volume Raw *, 100 g (about 7 large or 16 small scallops)
Calories 88
Protein 16.8g
Carbohydrates 2.4g
Fat 0.8g
Dietary fiber 0.0 g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.
* Generally speaking, short cooking does little to affect the nutritional value of food.


Scallops are among the foods richest in purines, the precursors of uric acid. Thus, people suffering from gout should avoid their consumption, in order to prevent the onset of seizures. In people with this condition, there is an abnormally high amount of uric acid in the blood, causing specific symptoms, such as joint pain. The purines in certain foods help to further increase the concentration of uric acid in the blood, which is why it is important for people with gout to avoid consumption.

A team of researchers has demonstrated that tropomyosin, a protein identified as the major allergen in shrimp and lobster, is also the major allergen of a variety of molluscs of which the scallop is part 5 . Cross-reactions could occur in people allergic to certain seafood that eat scallops. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency strongly recommends that people allergic to fish or seafood consult an allergist before introducing new ones into their diet.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid eating raw scallops, due to the risk of foodborne illness that can have serious consequences for the fetus or baby. Particular attention should also be paid to cross-contamination between raw seafood and other foods.

The scallop over time

The term “  scallop  ”, which appeared in the language in 1552, comes from the Latin pectonculus , diminutive of pecten , Latin name of the lamellibranches which one also calls “combs” or “pectens”. These include: scallop, Iceland scallop, sea scallop, small bay scallop and other molluscs related to them.

In industry, “scallop” more specifically designates the muscle used by the mollusk to move and flee from danger. In cooking, this muscle is called ”  nuts  “.

The muscle is sometimes accompanied by coral , a term which designates the edible gonads of the mollusc.

In France, the expression ”  scallop  ” refers to two species that are not found in America. In Quebec, it is used in catering to design scallops in sauce, au gratin and served in a shell like Saint-Jacques.

The shell of pilgrims
In the Middle Ages, pilgrims from Santiago de Compostela used the shells of European scallops to beg and eat, and attached a valve to their coats and hats as a symbol of their faith. Hence their name “scallop”.

The scallop and the scallop belong to a large family of molluscs comprising 50 genera and subgenera, and more than 400 species which are distributed all over the planet and whose habitat extends from the intertidal zone (littoral zone located between the limits of high medium tide and medium low tide) at the deep seabed. Like their distant cousins, the oyster, the mussel and the clam, they have been part of the human diet since the genus Homo appeared on the planet.

In eastern North America, three species are caught: giant scallop, Iceland scallop and small bay scallop. Commercially, the giant scallop ranks first in eastern Canada. Several tens of thousands of tonnes are harvested each year to be sold on the national market or exported to the United States.

As with virtually all marine species with commercial potential, wild stocks of scallops continue to decline. Following Japan and China, Quebec has therefore undertaken, since 1998, to cultivate it by implanting it on seabeds favorable to its growth or by raising it in cages kept suspended in water. Globally, beekeeping now occupies a greater place in trade than fishing for wild scallops.

Generally, the scallop is shelled immediately after being caught. We take the nuts and the coral which are sold fresh or frozen. However, since little is commercially scallops ”  Princess  ,” which is sold whole with its shell, its nuts and coral. It is quite simply a mollusc which is harvested before it is fully mature.

Culinary uses

To access other recipes, you can go to the cooking recipes site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: scallop, scallop tartare, scallop gratin

Choose well

Fresh scallops in shell  : the shell should close when it is lightly struck, a sign that the scallop is still alive, and show no signs of deterioration.

Fresh scallops in half-shell or without shell  : the nut should have a fresh and pleasant odor. Its flesh should be clear, moist without being sticky, shiny, elastic (it contracts and relaxes when touched). It is generally cream-colored, sometimes tending to orange.

Frozen scallops without their shells  : the flesh of the nuts should be shiny, with no signs of drying out or burning caused by freezing. The packaging should be airtight, with no frost or ice crystals inside. Preferable: scallops individually frozen under vacuum.

Note: scallops are sometimes treated with phosphate salts in order to make them swell artificially: they may then lose a lot of water during cooking. Banned in Canada, this type of treatment is allowed in other countries, so that, depending on their origin, the scallops found on its plate may contain phosphate salts. In principle, the information should appear on the label, but this is not always the case. Be wary of scallops with pure white flesh, a possible sign of treatment with these salts.

Culinary dishes

Scallops can be eaten raw, provided that they are very fresh (those that are frozen are not suitable for raw dishes). We will serve them:
– in a Japanese sashimi dish. For this use, cut the giant scallops into thin slices;
– cut into thin slices which will be presented on diced kiwis seasoned with rice vinegar, dashi , soy sauce and honey sauce. Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and diced tomatoes. You can replace the kiwi with mango;
– in tartare: finely chop and put them in a bowl with shallots, chives, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve over lettuce;
– with ceviche : they will be marinated in lime and lemon juice until the flesh is white and opaque (about an hour). Serve with green onion rings and diced tomatoes.

Cook the scallops for only a few minutes, otherwise the flesh may harden. They will only be added at the very end in dishes that require long cooking.

  • In chowder or bouillabaisse with other shellfish and fish, diced potato, onion and shallots, cream and a fish stock.
  • In a Japanese soup : cook snow peas, carrots and finely minced shiitakes in chicken broth with a few drops of soy sauce and add the scallops a few minutes before serving.
  • In a fricassee, in their shell  : brown onion and shallots in a pan and stir in the scallops. Cover and cook until the shells open; add garlic and parsley, add white wine and cook for a few minutes, uncovered. Serve as a starter.
  • On skewers , served with a sweet and sour sauce; or with a vinaigrette, on a bed of greenery (lamb’s lettuce, arugula, young lettuce, etc.). Dare to serve them with pieces of grilled pineapple.
  • Simply sauté in a little butter or oil, topped with cream and garnished with chopped parsley. Serve with pilaf rice.
  • Grilled . Spend them a few minutes in the oven in their half-shell with a knob of butter. Or coat them with a cream and white wine sauce, add grated Gruyere cheese and cook for six or seven minutes in an oven set to 260 ° C (500 ° F).
  • Breaded and fried in oil . Prepare them in tempura with other shellfish, shrimp and vegetables. Serve with soy sauce diluted with a little mirin.
  • Provençal style  : poach them for a few minutes in a tomato sauce seasoned with thyme, oregano, parsley and pepper. Put the mixture in shells, sprinkle with grated cheese and grill in the oven.
  • Steamed for a few minutes on a bed of edible seaweed. Use a colander placed on a pan of boiling water. Serve seaweed and scallops with white butter.
  • In the mosses .
  • Serve them over a salad of cooked and diced apples and thinly sliced ​​fennel. Season with lemon juice and seasoned curry cream.
  • Use the small scallops in seafood sauces to coat a fish or to decorate rice or pasta.


Refrigerator  : with their shell, they keep for four days. Wrap them in a clean cloth and place them at the bottom of the refrigerator. Without their shell, they will keep for 24 hours. Drain the liquid and put it in a tight container.

Freezer  : frozen scallops should be kept at -18  ° C, maximum three months, but they will be better if eaten within one month. Put them in the freezer immediately after purchase in an airtight food package. Thaw in the refrigerator and consume within 24 hours.

Ecology and environment

As is the case for oysters and mussels, scallop fishing, which is carried out by dragging, has the effect of destroying the habitats of various marine species, including their own. In addition, the number of bycatch (mainly monkfish, yellowtail flounder, cod, haddock, skate and, incidentally, sea turtle) is relatively high. Experts from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an organization that has set itself the task of studying the impacts of fishing and aquaculture on marine life and the environment, therefore recommend buying preferably scallops from farming .

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