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Canary Square seafood dish + scallop guts question

I was at Canary Square this weekend and had one of their special appetizers: cream-poached oysters with tarragon and cape scallops on the shell with preserved lemon and olive oil. 3 of each nicely presented on individual beds of salt. The oysters were fantastic. My question is about the scallops. They were simply steamed open and served guts and all. (By "guts" I mean the connective material that is usually removed to leave behind just the muscle.) I tried one, guts and all, and it was … fine, then i abandoned manners for a minute and forcibly separated the muscle from another one and it was sweet and delicious.

So, is this a thing now? Scallops served with all the innards? My tablemates thought it was fine. I have two objections: 1) All that connective stuff obscures the sweet delicate taste of a very delicious little scallop meat. 2) It's skeevy!

Am I being too squeamish about the guts? (Entirely possible.) I know it's technically fine to eat as long as the scallop is fresh. Do other places serve them this way? Does anyone prefer it?

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  1. I think that's the traditional French preparation for scallops or Coquilles St. Jacques. I don't think I've seen it in Boston, although I had them that way in Jackson, NH of all places, at Thompson House Eatery.

    1. Just think clams and you can get through it. :)

      1. In Europe scallops are served with their roe (usually orange but can be white or off-white) but with the other tissues removed, as CportJ mentioned.

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/13442405...
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/37006870...

        As I recall I've only seen them in the US twice - with the roe and the other tissues included, at Kotobukiya in Porter Square and at the Ratskeller in DC, it may be that the roe does not keep well and there also isn't any historical demand for the roe.

        Here are a couple of places that sells scallops with "roe on," maybe it's catching on:

        http://www.bluewaterdistributors.com/...
        http://eastcoastseafood.com.au/produc...

        @cuevamanos

        1. And for those of us who have extensive experience in Europe, there are a couple of threads bemoaning the lack of "guts" here in North America.

          1 Reply
          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

            Thanks, I found one of these, not sure I'll be eating the gills!

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/898901#

            @cuevamanos

          2. When you say guts, do you mean the roe? There used to be law about selling scallops with roe because it was highly perishable. this goes back a few years and I haven't heard of it lately. I've bought whole scallops at Savenors and a few smaller markets in Chinatown, also served with roe and abductor muscle at seafood places there.

            I think the abductor muscle is usually discarded at sea for larger scallops.

            Diver scallops can be had with or without.

            Cape/bay..I usually see them without the roe.

            Many consider the roe to be a delicacy In Europe in as Steinpilz said.I personally take them or leave them. Abductor same. I would rather use them for a chowder.:)

            6 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              How difficult are they to shuck? Are they alive? I've come across them clamming, and they will open and close their shells and shoot water out.

              1. re: CportJ

                Pretty easy. Use a clam or other flat knife and work it into the opening at the "flat end" of the scallop. Far easier than clams or oysters. Try to keep the more rounded shell down to retain the juices. Clean, separate and discard the flat portion of the shell.

              2. re: 9lives

                I remember eating scallops for the first time in France and being surprised they were served with the roe, and then delighted after I tasted it.

                1. re: 9lives

                  New news (especially for Ming Tsai, among others): the muscle we eat on the scallop IS the adductor muscle.

                  1. re: sr44

                    My mistake. of course you're correct.

                    That's what happens when I type before having enough coffee.

                    The connective material between the shell and adductor is chewy.

                    The adductor is what we commonly eat.

                  2. re: 9lives

                    Oh, this was *definitely* not roe. Roe would have been cool. This was just connective tissue - digestive tract, membrane, etc. As Bob Dobalina suggested above, I did kind of think, "hmm, steamers?" Or as a co-worker commented when I told her, it's "nose-to-tail!"

                    I can get over the skeevy factor but I definitely think the sweetness of the scallop meat got lost in all the other stuff. Although some of that may have been the prep - the strong flavor of preserved lemon is an interesting idea but might go better with a sea scallop.

                  3. Most authentic places in Chinatown serve this way. It can be a bit sea-gamey which is why most places don't serve it.