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Jan 1, 2008 07:39 PM

Blue scallop mystery

I'm really hoping someone can help me with this.

I was making scallops on New Year's Eve, and something very odd happened. It's a dish that calls for gently simmering fresh sea scallops in white wine, salt, parsley, and enough water to cover the scallops. When they're cooked, you take them out, reduce the liquid, strain and reserve it. Then you saute mushrooms and scallions in butter, reserve them, and make a roux and then a sauce with half-and-half, gruyere, and the reserved liquid. You put the veggies and scallops back in, warm them up, but them in a baking dish with breadcrumbs and cheese and throw under a broiler. It's a nice rich dish for winter, and I've made it a ton of times without incident. Last night, though, when I was simmering the scallops in the beginning, the liquid turned blue. At first I thought the murkiness from the scallops was creating an illusion against the metal pan, but I put some in a spoon and then a white dish and it was definitely blue. The scallops didn't turn blue, and they tasted fine, but the liquid was so strange that I threw it out. I reduced some wine and water and parsley on its own, with a scallop thrown in at a lame attempt at scallop flavor for the broth. The dish turned out fine, but I'm still puzzled. Any ideas?

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  1. Sorry this posted twice - I got some error message the first time.

    1. Two questions

      1. What type of pot did you use?

      2. Did you buy the scallops from a reliable fish vendor? Sometimes something other than scallops is cut into a scallop shaple

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        1. I used the All-Clad Master Chef 3.5 qt saucepan, which is stainless steel. I have made this dish in other stainless steel pots without incident, though not with this particular pot.
        2. I got them from Whole Foods in NYC. They were sold "previously frozen" and when I got them home I cooked them within 2 hours, leaving them in the fridge in the meantime. I've gotten lots of seafood from them before and have never had problems. And, like I said, the blue color didn't seem to affect the scallops, which I would think would indicate that it didn't come from the scallops themselves. I could be wrong, though.

      2. Tannic acid in the wine can react with Iron (III) Chloride to form Iron (III) Tannate which is blue. Doesn't explain what happened, but might be a clue.

        1. I had a similar incident last month.

          I was sauteing thawed (in refrigerator, in original bag) frozen scallops in a resealable bag.

          I rinsed the scallops, but did not pat them dry. I put them in a medium heat calaphon non-stick frying pan with a little EVOO. They cooked for about 3 minutes and then I turned them over. They started to get juicy, so I extracted some of the liquid with a paper towel. I browned them nicely, but there was still a little excess liquid in the pan. My husband wasn't ready to eat so I turned off the heat and put the cover on the pan. Five minutes later there was a lot of liquid in the pan and the liquid was BLUE, unmistakably BLUE!! The scallops were not blue, just the liquid.

          My husband ate the scallops with no problems reagarding taste or getting sick.

          I contacted the frozen food vendor and this was their response:

          Scott, The blue liquid comes out of scallops that are spawning. The spawning process creates the extra moisture in the meat that bleeds out when the meat is cut out of the shell, and cooked. The blue color in the liquid is due to a change in the natural chemical composition of the scallop meat during spawning. It is harmless. if you need anything else please let me know. regards, John

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