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Jun 16, 2013 04:15 PM

Market Basket Scallops in milk?

Got some bay scallops from market basket today. They are labeled as "mexican".. When i took them out to prepare them, they are in a whitish liquid, im guessing maybe it is milk?? I have never got scallops that came in a liquid before from the grocery store. They smelled ok.
Should i be concerned!?

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  1. Those are wet scallops and that's just the liquid from the scallops.
    Paper towels will absorb most of the liquid, but I find those hard to pan sear if that's what you're trying to do with them.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      I believe they have a liquid sodium solution added i.e wet scallops. Look for dry or divers scallops.

      1. re: treb

        I'm not sure what the additive is but i'll only use the wet scallops now for stews and seafood chowder, and the dry scallops for pan sear.

        1. re: Infomaniac

          sodium tripolyphosphate, it plumps them up

          1. re: Prav

            Yes, STP.

            IIRC, there is another preservative that is increasingly used, which does not turn the scallops quite as tell-tale white as STP and the use of which can fishmongers and their customers.

            Part of the point of STP is to allow seafood to be frozen for shipping and storage, with less water loss upon thawing; the problem is, that extra water comes out with cooking....

            The more local and recent the catch, sold in a place with high turnover, the less likely they will need to resort to preservatives.

    2. Next time get the the dry sea scallops. Bay scallops that are not local (Nantucket & Cape Cod - only in season from Nov-early March) are not worth buying.

      1. could it be the sodium tripolyphosphate from "wet packed" scallops?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Prav

          yea i guess it is.. pretty gross to think about actually. I filled/drained the container 3-4 times with water in the sink before cooking them, even though your not supposed to wash scallops... wont be buying those anymore.. not even sure i will eat the rest..

        2. Oh this is SUCH a weird coincidence!

          I was just debating if I should post about my MB scallop experience. I posted about cod last week, and the replies were so positive and fun. I was leaning toward quitting while I was ahead. But this is a sign!

          This entire week has been takeout city around here. I feel like I aged 10 years and gained 10 pounds. So when my husband shouted out the perfunctory "Do ya want anything from Market Basket?" on his way out the door, I had to think quick. And I flashed on some nice plump seared sea scallops as the perfect change up for my torpor.

          So I yelled out, "Ya, pick me up about a pound of sea scallops. Sea Scallops, not bay scallops. The big ones. If they don't have them, forget it". Your basic New England marital banter.

          He gets home and we go through the weekly ritual of him showing off his MB haul. "And here are your scallops" he announced, handing me a plastic container (like from the deli counter, labeled "Mexican Bay Scallops".

          Talk about panic! I mean seriously. What are these little, slimy, foreign things doing in my fancy North Shore kitchen?

          Thankfully that little diva moment passed and I gave myself the "nothing to lose" speech. I was "All In" or "Leaning In". Whatever. Without the infidelity. At least for tonight. Maybe.

          I am such a huge fan of the Market Basket seafood department. I made a solemn oath to at least try.

          Google was pretty useless. I had a bad feeling about pan frying on the stove. I winged it.

          I put a good amount of melted butter in an ovenproof skillet. I drained those suckers with a slotted spoon and plopped them in there. No rinsing. No drying. I dusted them with some seasoned salt. Then I sprinkled them with some packaged breadcrumbs. Lightly. I used the Emeril's brand that they sell at MB (because I already had it) and topped it off with a couple of light passes of parm cheese. I put them in a 400 oven for 9 minutes, and then left them out to transition for around ten minutes.

          It was insanely yummy. Nothing else was needed. If they were too juicy going in, they were just fine coming out. I was in such pure bliss scarfing them down that I would have loved to share the joy!

          I thought that this was going to be the end of my love affair with MB fish. Now I am in for the long haul!

          11 Replies
          1. re: nsgirl

            That is similar to how i prepared them.baked them in a small casserole dish with a little olive oil, a lot of garlic and some seasoned Panko on top..

            1. re: nsgirl

              I've never had a problem with sea scallops from MB, FWIW. I never buy bay scallops except in season in places near the source (North Fork of LI, for example, for Peconic Bay scallops).

              1. re: nsgirl

                if this was the home-cooking board there would now be 700 replies of how italians don't put cheese on seafood. :)

                i have bought very good local scallops at mb and other seafood, including tuna, sword, wild shrimp, smelts and whiting, as well.

                right now i have a dueling mb and stop & shop right across from each other. the s&s is new with all sorts of bells and whistles. the mb seafood is consistently better and cheaper.

                here's an explanation of wet vs. dry scallops:


                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  With the weird exception of the otherwise sub-par S&S at Brigham Circle, which has an actual seafood counter with unpackaged fish on display in a cold case, I've been shocked at how poor S&S seafood departments are in general. Many stores have nothing but pre-packaged "fresh" seafood and a freezer case.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    The S&S near me has a seafood counter with unpackaged seafood, I hardly see anything worth buying.

                    1. re: treb

                      the tuna and salmon are both shockingly dyed and most often looked very banged up -- i.e., badly handled and old. blech.

                      i'd also venture 99% of the s&s fish is farmed and i won't buy farmed fish.

                      eta: have similar negative feelings about the whole paycheck in andover. i was SHOCKED at the tiny selection and terrible quality offered at their fish dept. everything was farmed, looked tired and, of course, was at least $5 MORE pp than m/b.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Oh, generally the MB fish counters (at least at the newer locations) are noticeably better than Whole Foods' fish counter. Not just price but quality. The only negative is that they can't pack your fish in ice for you the way a real fishmonger would.

                        1. re: Karl S

                          When buying seafood, I always bring a small cooler for that very reason.

                          1. re: treb

                            Much of the year, I don't need to.

                            But this reminds me to remind folks: when you get your fish or seafood home, be sure to put it on ice (I keep ice packs in the freezer for ready use) when you refrigerated it - it should be kept as close to freezing temperature as possible, rather than typical frig temperatures several degrees (F) above that. Makes a huge difference in quality.

                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                          Speaking of badly handled...

                          The SS in north Quincy had to shut down their seafood counter for days a few years back. It REEKED of bad fish, like they had lost all refrigeration. It had to get disassembled and disinfected.

                          I'm lucky to be pretty close to Burke's

                  2. Follow up report:

                    I reprogrammed my order with DH today for his MB run. SEA scallops, I insisted.

                    And he came back with them. And they were labeled "dry" @ $15.99/lb.

                    They were as delicious, if not more, than any scallops I have ever cooked myself or had anywhere.

                    Another MB win!

                    Not trying to come off as preachy here. If anything, I am shocked at how challenging it can be to buy seafood when you live at the coast. The days of fresh fish markets in every town are, sadly, gone. There are only a few good ones on the NS. And they are just not that convenient to get to or make arrangements with.

                    I will not even say something like "for the money...." when it comes to buying fish. And I have tried the "local" grocery chains (unacceptable) and WF (blah, and overpriced). And they can't touch MB on this.

                    So I don't know if this is good news or bad news for anyone. I'm just sharing my honest impressions. MB is awesome for this!

                    For me it is good news!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: nsgirl

                      I got some sea scallops from Rowans last week that were great $16.99 lb iirc.

                      1. re: phatchris

                        That is a fantastic fish market. Ugh and I drove right by it today without thinking!

                      2. re: nsgirl

                        I'm lucky to live in an area where we have literally dozens of fish markets that can be considered excellent, and a few that could be labelled Wold Class. Every town has at least 2 worth patronizing, yet I still find myself buying the bulk of my seafood at Market Basket. The freshness is terrific as the turnover is high. The pricing is sometimes obscenely terrific, besides the $3.99 bologn.....a.....err...lobster. Some notable frequent sale items are fresh wild caught Atlantic Sword for $8.99 lb, the dry sea scallops you mention for $13.99 and sometimes $11.99 pound, local cod and haddock for under $8-9. Sometimes they'll even surprise with something special like a couple of weeks ago I bought some previously frozen Chilean Sea Bass for $22 lb. Expensive in comparison, especially for prev. frozen, but very yummy and a rare treat. I don't trust my local Shaws or S&S for any seafood as I've been burned with substandard and not too fresh products too many times. I'm a real MB convert.

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          Nothing can compare pricewise when a giftcard sale was running (buy $50 of any cards and get $10 off any order) and they had $9.99 fresh scallops at the Chelmsford S&S a year and a half ago. Ended up stocking up on gas giftcards that week to actually have fresh scallops for dinner 3x that week. So that week I had 3 meals of scallops (2 lbs each for 4 people) for $2 and change. Went through the line 2x each time to get that.

                          1. re: kreptol

                            Yup. Good 'ole Stop & Shop, giving their loyal customers a great deal every year and a half or two, whether they ask for it or not.