Are Scallops Healthy?

Are Scallops Healthy?

Around the world, thousands of different types of seafood are available each and every day. From the salty mackerels of the Atlantic Ocean to the skipjack tunas based around the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there’s plenty to choose from.

Although a lot of these fish come in different sizes and flavors, they all have their own health benefits and features that make them unique.

A lot of people wonder whether scallops are a healthy choice when eating seafood and we’ve got your answer. Read on to find out more!

What Are Scallops?

Scallops are a type of shellfish residing in saltwater bodies all over the world. Specifically, the scallop is a type of bivalve mollusc, which means that the inside muscles are encased by two shells for protection.

This is a quality that is also shared by oysters, clams, and mussels, which are frequently used in seafood cuisine across the globe.

The feature of the scallop that we eat is called the adductor muscle, which is the part of the scallop that controls the opening and closing of the shell. There is an orange coral that also controls the shell's opening and closing.

When cooked, the scallops that we eat turns tender and round, making it a perfect part of any meal. The coral can also be eaten by humans, however, it is less widely consumed in the US and other similar countries.

What Do Scallops Look Like?

Are Scallops Healthy?

The look of the scallop shell has been well used throughout history on both art and popular culture, appearing in films like The Little Mermaid.

The shell looks fanned out in design and is quite unique to other variations of bivalve creatures in the ocean! They can actually swim to move around.

As mentioned, the scallop is frequently seen in popular culture, in shows like Spongebob Squarepants.

In the show, the scallops are seen clapping their shells together to swim and many people may have thought this is for comedic effect, however, it is accurate for the most part! Scallops can move pretty quick too!

Dotted around the exterior of the shell, scallops have blue eyes that make them instantly recognizable to anyone lucky enough to get close enough to these beings.

The blue eyes are almost bead-like in appearance and can feature 50 to 100 of them around the shell. These eyes are used to levels of light and motion, so that they can hide or escape should they feel threatened.

Scallops’ eyes are incredibly similar to human eyes, in the sense that they use their retinas to focus on light levels.

What Do Scallops Taste Like?

Much like other variations of shellfish, scallops are very tender and buttery in texture, making them unique to lots of different types of underwater creature.

A lot of fish tend to have a flakier texture, which poses a different type of meal. Scallops have frequently had their texture compared to lobster, crayfish, and crab, which comes as no surprise due to their shells and features.

Some scallops have been known to be more nutty in flavor, slightly resembling tones of almonds and hazelnut. Because of this very unique and special flavor, scallops are included in lots of seafood platters around the world.

Combining these nutty undertones and the rich texture of the scallop with oily and salty flavors of fish can make for a wonderfully balanced seafood dinner - lovely!

Are Scallops Healthy?

A lot of fish are regarded as healthy due to their natural oils and lower fat content compared to other meats like beef and pork.

However, scallops are widely known as one of the healthiest forms of seafood that one can consume.

Scallops are made up of around 80% protein and have very low fat levels, which makes these shellfish perfect for those looking for a healthy meal, whilst keeping the flavors rich!

On top of this, scallops are a great source of minerals and vitamins, which are vital for any person’s diet if they are wishing to live healthily.

It’s also recorded that these molluscs are an incredible source of antioxidants, which is crucial to most people’s bodies for protection against illness.

Antioxidants are substances that defend the body’s cells against free radicals. These substances are vital in preventing heart disease, cancer, and other causes of death.

How Long Should Scallops Be Cooked For?

Scallops are easily one of the easiest types of seafood to cook when it comes to time and effort.

For anyone that’s a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, you will know that scallops are used frequently and are often cooked last out of all of the ingredients in the kitchen.

This is because they only take four or five minutes to be cooked thoroughly and will start to burn if overcooked.

You can tell when a scallop is undercooked because it will still be soft in texture, as opposed to it’s tenderness when cooked properly. When overcooked, scallops will appear rubbery in texture and feel hard to chew.

On top of this, they start to blacken and burn, which can ruin anybody’s meal! When cooked perfectly, the color of the scallop will be white, with brown-golden features, looking absolutely incredible!

What Is the Best Way To Cook Scallops?

Are Scallops Healthy?

Usually, people will fry scallops on the stove, frequently flipping them to make sure that they don’t burn on one side. By flipping every 30 seconds or so, you’re ensuring that they are evenly cooked and tasty all the way through!

A lot of people will also smoke scallops, much like with other variations of shellfish like lobster and prawns. It’s always important to wash your scallops before cooking them to make sure that they are fresh and clean.

Using cool water will clean them without affecting the texture and the taste of the food.

Final Thoughts

Scallops are easily one of the healthiest forms of seafood you can eat and they make a pretty tasty meal when cooked properly. The usual time of year for collecting scallops is in the late fall and winter time.

This is the prime season for scallops and will ensure that you have the freshest meal possible. After shucking, remember to rinse the shellfish with cold water to ensure that the food is clean and edible.

Pat the scallops dry before cooking and enjoy the meal!
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