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Popcorn Scallops

boyzoma Sep 2, 2010 05:24 PM

DH and I recently ate at a local restaurant at the beach and one of the appetizers was "popcorn scallops". They were very tiny, bite sized, juicy and with a nice brown, crispy breadcrumb coating. They were about the size of a thumbnail. My questions are:

Has anyone made these? If so, do you have a recipe you can share?

Since they were so small, and golden brown, would they have been frozen to be deep fried so they retain their melt-in-your mouth texture instead of being rubbery?

Would love to hear if someone can give some more info. I'd take them over popcorn shrimp any day!

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  1. Cherylptw RE: boyzoma Sep 2, 2010 05:50 PM

    They wouldn't necessarily have to be frozen; it only takes a few minutes to deep fry fresh regular scallops much less tiny scallops...these would have had to be either bay scallops or sea scallops cut small before breading..

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw
      scubadoo97 RE: Cherylptw Sep 3, 2010 05:08 AM

      My guess is that they were bay scallops which are cheaper than sea and require less labor than cutting bigger sea scallops. I often cook bay scallops by just making sure they are really dry and coating lightly with Wondra and then pan saute in a little oil and butter.

      1. re: scubadoo97
        Karl S RE: scubadoo97 Sep 4, 2010 07:17 PM

        Real wild bay scallops from the prime waters of the Peconic Bay and Nantucket are the prize of scallops, and usually retail during the winter season for over twice the prize of deep sea scallops.

        These sound like calico scallops, often likened to the eraser on pencils....

        1. re: Karl S
          coll RE: Karl S Sep 4, 2010 07:29 PM

          If you could find bay scallops around here for less than $20/lb, you are very lucky indeed. I would never put breading on those, it would be a sin.

          1. re: coll
            boyzoma RE: coll Sep 5, 2010 06:04 AM

            I agree with you about normally breading scallops! That would be a sin! We just got some and will be putting a nice little sear on those babies!

    2. grampart RE: boyzoma Sep 3, 2010 05:29 AM

      Could have been Calico scallops. We used to get them in Florida restaurants back in the 80's. Cheaper and not nearly as tasty as bay scallops.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grampart
        ospreycove RE: grampart Sep 3, 2010 05:34 AM

        st. Joe Bay scallops/Calico scallops Florida

      2. coll RE: boyzoma Sep 3, 2010 05:36 AM

        The big secret to all the commercial popcorn breaded product is lots of salt, just like real popcorn. Otherwise they just taste like breaded anything. I wondering with the popcorn theme, maybe quickly marinade in something buttery before breading? Usually popcorn style is battered though.

        Anything fried usually cooks better from a frozen state. Usually I bread, then freeze for at least 15 or 20 minutes before frying, it holds together much better than fresh.

        18 Replies
        1. re: coll
          boyzoma RE: coll Sep 3, 2010 04:00 PM

          Thanks, all. These were definitely crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I guess I will just have to experiment! It seems that if they are that small, and then deep frying to a golden brown, they would have to be frozen - otherwise they would be rubber.

          Maybe I can call the restaurant and just ask what type of scallop they used. Doh!

          1. re: boyzoma
            coll RE: boyzoma Sep 3, 2010 04:38 PM

            60/80 count frozen scallops are very popular in the restaurant world, there are brands that are pretty decent for frozen.

            1. re: boyzoma
              chefj RE: boyzoma Sep 3, 2010 05:45 PM

              I am not sure if they would want to tell you that it is "X" brand, frozen, mass produced, STP laden product that they buy from Sysco.

              1. re: chefj
                coll RE: chefj Sep 3, 2010 05:54 PM

                They may not tell you either way, but I've only heard of popcorn chicken and popcorn shrimp as mass produced, popcorn scallop is an interesting twist and most likely made by them. Until some company reads this and starts making it. However I could be totally wrong and will admit it in advance.

                1. re: coll
                  chefj RE: coll Sep 3, 2010 05:58 PM

                  could be

                  1. re: coll
                    chefj RE: coll Sep 3, 2010 06:58 PM

                    Singleton Popcorn Scallops are already on the market.

                    1. re: chefj
                      coll RE: chefj Sep 4, 2010 03:34 AM

                      Good to know, and I shouldn't be surprised. That sounds like a nice concept.

                      1. re: chefj
                        boyzoma RE: chefj Sep 4, 2010 01:05 PM

                        I looked for Singleton Popcorn Scallops and found Singleton's web site, but I didn't see any scallops!

                        1. re: boyzoma
                          chefj RE: boyzoma Sep 4, 2010 04:21 PM


                          Could be a mistake?

                          1. re: chefj
                            coll RE: chefj Sep 4, 2010 04:32 PM

                            No I found this quickly
                            They apparently make it breaded and battered.
                            I never heard of Singletons but maybe it's more of a Southern company? They sound big enough to me.

                            1. re: coll
                              boyzoma RE: coll Sep 4, 2010 05:22 PM

                              coll - I saw that, but that just shows popcorn shrimp, not popcorn scallops. Thanks.

                              1. re: boyzoma
                                coll RE: boyzoma Sep 4, 2010 07:13 PM

                                Duh, here it is, wrong page:
                                Still never heard of this company, or popcorn scallops til now, but that's just me!

                                1. re: coll
                                  boyzoma RE: coll Sep 5, 2010 06:00 AM

                                  That's exactly what they looked like! Unfortunately they are in Florida and I am in Oregon!

                                  1. re: boyzoma
                                    coll RE: boyzoma Sep 5, 2010 06:49 AM

                                    This looks like a big manufacturer, I've never seen this brand in the Northeast but they could very well sell on the West Coast. Especially if Sysco is involved, which brings us back to the original comment by chefj. Luckily Sysco isn't as big where I am as in the rest of the country, most suppliers are local.

                                    1. re: coll
                                      boyzoma RE: coll Sep 5, 2010 07:38 AM

                                      Sysco is big here. Maybe I can find out! Hadn't thought of that. Thanks! I didn't pick up on the Sysco connection by chefj. My bad!!!

                                      1. re: boyzoma
                                        coll RE: boyzoma Sep 5, 2010 09:11 AM

                                        I don't know about Sysco since they aren't physically located here yet, but all our local dealers let you walk in and buy anything they carry, for a slightly higher price. Sysco usually puts their own name on everything, so just ask about popcorn scallops in general, these are probably the only ones out there right now.

                2. re: coll
                  alkapal RE: coll Sep 4, 2010 07:37 AM

                  coll, deep frying from frozen? no oil splatter issues?

                  1. re: alkapal
                    coll RE: alkapal Sep 4, 2010 09:32 AM

                    No. But I do have a covered deep fryer, so I guess that helps. If I saw ice crystals from something that was deep frozen, I'd take precautions, but I guess I have a dry freezer, so not usually a problem.

                    Restaurants cook the majority of their fried food from frozen, it's actually considered the better way, keeps the breading from falling off and/or cooking too much before the inside is done. That's why I purposely freeze it a little beforehand if I have time.

                3. monku RE: boyzoma Sep 3, 2010 05:56 PM

                  In Los Angeles we have a place called Fisherman's Outlet and they have fried bay scallops that sound like what you're describing.
                  They fry the bay scallops in cracker meal not bread crumbs.

                  You might want to look for cracker meal or cracker crumbs:

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: monku
                    EricMM RE: monku Sep 4, 2010 08:56 AM

                    Calico scallops are tiny. After cooking, they are the size of a pencil eraser. Real bay scallops are now farm raised in Peru and China. They are frozen and sold pretty cheaply. They are small, but not nearly as small as calico's, so they would be better suited for this type of preparation.

                    1. re: EricMM
                      boyzoma RE: EricMM Sep 4, 2010 01:16 PM

                      These were bigger than a Calico then, but smaller than a bay. Well, I've sent an e-mail to the restaurant, and we'll see if they even reply! I'll update if I get anything back from them.

                      1. re: boyzoma
                        EricMM RE: boyzoma Sep 5, 2010 09:22 AM

                        What you are describing sounds like a farmed bay scallop. They are usually smaller than the largest wild bay scallops, on a par with the smaller wild ones. Since they are farmed, they are all uniform in size, and always larger than calicos.

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