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Oct 20, 2007 05:11 PM

Scallops? [moved from Florida board]

Question for all of you...

Im a New Englander and a HUGE scallop connoisseur. I went and bought some from Milams in the Grove last Sunday and cooked them a few days later. I did a simple sear, but I had no olive oil so I used veg. I cooked the scallops until they had a decent brown as I knew that the veg oil wouldnt give it the same sear as olive. I thought I overcooked them and was really surprised when they were cooked PERFECTLY. It was almost too good to be true. Then I started to analyze each bite. There was a slight chewiness to the outside where they were seared, then it was completely smooth from there on in which was perfect, almost too perfect.

The reason for this post is that Ive heard a few times that occasionally stingray meat is sold as scallops... Im wondering if I got something to that effect? The only other thing I can think of is that the veg oil doesnt burn hot enough to sear and cook thru a scallop as fast/well as olive oil will. Any ideas?

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  1. Vegetable oil actually heats up higher than extra virgin/virgin olive oil, for the most part, so that shouldn't be a problem. For the stingray/scallops thing, I'm pretty sure that's an urban legend. Also, they taste differently, and as a scallop expert (or even as a casual eater of scallops), you probably would be able to tell the difference. Maybe they were just really good scallops. How fresh were they, and were they 'wet' or 'dry'?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Miami Danny

      My husband and I have owned a seafood market for 25 years - so we have seen every scam there is. However, I have never seen the stingray substitution! Like Miami Danny, I've always wondered where that came from.

      The grain on a scallop runs vertically up and down - on a stingray disc, it would run laterally, so I think you could tell that way.

      Also, scallops usually each have a spot where the roe has been removed, so that's another sign.

      You probably just had excellent quality dry pack scallops (without trisodium phosphate added).

      PS I hope you read fast, because I'm sure the monitors will delete this thread or move it to the general board.

      1. re: joan

        There is also an urban legend that punched-out shark pieces are substituted for scallops. Great explanation about the grain and the spot where the roe was-I want to buy seafood from you!

        1. re: Miami Danny

          Not an urban legend. I had some fake scallops once at a restaurant.

          1. re: mpalmer6c

            Perhaps we're talking about two different things-not 'fake' scallops, like a flavored surimi crab thing, but actually intending to deceive by punching out scallop-shaped pieces of shark or stingray and presenting them as real scallops. And that is correct-I was talking about the smoking point, not the temperature-thank you for the correction.

    2. thanks for the replies. I guess I just cooked them perfectly afterall. MD, veg oil may heat up higher but olive oil gives a better sear.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Blind Mind

        Olive oil is vegetable oil.

        And the type of oil will not have anything to do with how well anything is seared. How well you cook does.

        1. re: C. Hamster

          I hate to be 'that guy', but the olive is a fruit.

          1. re: Miami Danny

            I guess that same point could be made for most vegetable oils. Corn, peanut, soybean... etc. it all ends up coming from the fruit of the plant.

            1. re: Miami Danny

              You can be that guy, but any oil made from vegetable matter is a type of vegetable oil.

              That includes olive oil, as well as oil made from peanuts, corn, rapeseed, sunflower seeds, etc.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                LOL!!! This is why I didn't want to be 'that guy'. Olives are in fact fruit, like tomatoes, not vegetables. Peanuts are legumes, not fruit OR vegetables. Olives are not vegetable matter, like corn. Seeds are not vegetables-how could a sunflower, or its seeds, be a vegetable? It's a flower! Now I'm 'that guy' again.

                1. re: Miami Danny

                  All you describe is considered "vegetable" matter. Thus, all are defined as vegatable oils.

                  Now you ARE the guy! LOL


                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Disagree. While anything that we eat that grows may be described as 'vegetable matter', it does not follow that everything we eat is therefore a 'vegetable', nor any oil made therefrom a 'vegetable oil'. Of course, if you want to consider an orange or a peanut or a sunflower seed a vegetable, as according to your dubious definition, go right ahead. (Still that guy!)

                    1. re: Miami Danny

                      Bless you for arguing your point, but from a culinary standpoint, you are in error.

                      All oils made from plants are considered vegetable oils.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        I disagree from any and every standpoint. But I am willing to take my blessing and go fry gracefully.

                        1. re: Miami Danny

                          "animal, vegetable, mineral, other" . .. from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance's "Major-General Song"

                          could this quite general level of distinction be the problem with the debate here about "vegetable" vs. vegetable, fruit, nut oils?

        2. The oil type has no effect on how high the temperature are cooking so you control the temperature...the only difference you will see (aside from flavor) is the "smoking" point... Where these scallops fresh or frozen? big?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Pollo

            Fresh. Id never cook frozen scallops. I think I was just surprised because I thought Id overcooked them time-wise but apparently because they were quite large it worked out perfect.

            1. re: Blind Mind

              Not to be picky but how do you know tht were fresh?

              1. re: Pollo

                I was wondering the same thing...

                1. re: joan

                  Well, I guess you never can tell unless you get them out of the shell (which Ive had a few times and it was incredible), but these were nice and dry, and smelled like fresh ocean, not fishy. So, Im guessing they were fresh.

          2. As someone who is not a scallop expert, I have a question. Is it normal to keep unfrozen scallops a few days before cooking? I would certainly never do that with fish, but don't know if scallops are different.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rfneid

              As long as your fridge is cold enough, you can keep fish and scallops, etc for a few days without problems. If they smell fishy, see ya later. If not, youre money. Do you think supermarkets throw out all the fish they dont sell in one day?

              1. re: rfneid

                I find that scallops are more perishable than other seafood. I cook them the day I buy them, and I keep them on ice in the fridge until I do.

              2. With scallops the fresher, the better. Don't buy until you're going to cook them. We harvested our own bay scallops and cooked them within hours. YUMM.

                Yours must have been BIG scallops. Yup - the smoke point depends on the oil. Seems that I remember that peanut has one of the highest smoke points so is great for things you want to quickly sear at high temp.

                7 Replies
                1. re: warthawgs

                  Yes, just like fish, the fresher the better.

                  We use peanut oil for deep frying in our restaurant/fish market. Extremely expensive, but worth every penny. It also has another great quality - little or no transference of flavors. So you can fry oysters for example, then follow with something delicate like flounder, and each item will taste only like itself, not the other food you've cooked. Peanut oil does impart some nutty flavor of its own, so not a winner for salads etc. No transfats, no cholesterol either!

                  1. re: joan

                    yeah. peanut oil is great for crispy fried fish!

                  2. re: warthawgs

                    Yes, they were sea scallops, aka BIG scallops LOL. IMO, olive oil sears better and tastes better than veg. This has really caused quite a debate!

                    1. re: Blind Mind

                      Oil, any type of oil for that matter, only acts as conduit for heat. Being in liquid form, there is more surface area contact. Yes, olive oil tastes better. At a given temperature, you will get the exact same type of sear from olive, corn, canola, or pimple oil.

                      You've just convinced yourself otherwise. And that's OK, it's your dinner.

                      1. re: Blind Mind

                        I don't think there's any debate at all. You're the only poster who thinks that olive oil "sears better," whatever that means (better crust? sears more quickly?) Taste is another issue, but even excellent olive oil loses all flavor when heated to the temperatures we're talking about here.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          LIke I said, its just my own opinion and I guess it comes from better crust and sears faster. No need to get all huffy.