What's In Season: Nantucket Bay Scallops
Now In Season Through February
Nantucket Bay scallops are now in season and some of the city's best fish mongers have them.
Not all scallops are alike. The Nantucket Bay scallop is smaller and more tender than most other types of sea scallops, with a velvety texture. They are usually more costly -- sometimes twice the price -- than sea scallops but the flavor is rich and you don't need as large a portion to have a satisfying meal.
Because their flavor is so fresh and delicate, they're best cooked simply and quick. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan and sear the scallops over moderately high heat until they lose their transparency and become opaque -- this can take less than a minute so be careful you don't overcook them. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a pinch of salt, and serve with rice or small boiled potatoes. Some recipes will suggest dredging the scallops in flour first, but I advise against this -- it's simply not needed and the flour can dull the scallops' sweet flavor.
Scallops can also be sautéed with slices of fresh garlic, adding some white wine and freshly minced parsley to cook for a few minutes to make a quick and special sauce for pasta. We've added a link to Jennifer Hess's "Last Night's Dinner," and her recipe for Cappellini With Nantucket Bay Scallops.
If you want something more elaborate or want to use these sweet scallops as an appetizer, wrap a half slice of bacon around each scallop, fasten with a toothpick, and place on a sheet pan and broil -- about 4 inches from the heat source -- for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Serve immediately.
The season for Nantucket Bay scallops is short. Sometimes the season can end as early as December and at other times, it continues through the winter. So get them, and enjoy them, while you can.