December 26, 2012

Soup to Nuts: Briny goodness

'Tis the season -- fresh Maine scallop season, that is -- so support your local fisherman and indulge.

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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The fishing boats Bossy Lady (foreground), the First Edition and the DDT II prepare their catches of scallops harvested from the waters off Blue Hill.

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Scallops from the Blue Hill area have been particularly orange this season.

Additional Photos Below


KAREN TAMMI AND ELAINE TAMMI, authors of "Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook," come to Maine on April 3 to teach a demonstration class at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School, 2 Stonewall Lane, York. "A Celebration of Sea Scallops: Maine Diver and Dayboat Scallops" costs $50 and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call (877) 899-8363 for reservations.

Here's the menu for the class:

"Maine dayboat sea scallops in their shells with herb and saffron butter"

"Seared Maine diver scallops atop mesclun greens with smoked bacon and honey mustard dressing"

"Sandy Neck shrimp and scallops au gratin baked in wine and garlic butter topped with panko bread crumbs"

"Scallop shell sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce

Recipes from 'the scallop queen' and her mom

"Karin Tammi and Elaine Tammi's cookbook, "Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook," contains recipes for dishes ranging from scallop springrolls and scallop pot pie to scallop fritters with chipotle mayonnaise.

Here, they share two of their favorite crowd pleasers for winter gatherings: Prosciutto-wrapped scallops that are perfect as either an appetizer or an entree, and a scallop and corn chowder they often serve at appearances. The prosciutto-wrapped scallops are the creation of Martha's Vineyard chef Lindsey Henderson.


Serves 4-6

¾ pound red potatoes cut into ½-inch cubes

2 cups water

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped leeks

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup half and half

2 cups fresh corn or frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained

1 pound sea scallops cut in half horizontally

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pat of butter, optional

Paprika, optional

Combine potatoes and water in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add leeks and celery; saute 5 minutes until tender.

Add potatoes and water to a large stock pot, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 12 minutes or just until potatoes are tender.

Stir in half and half and corn. Cover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Add scallops. Season with salt and black pepper, cook 3 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls. Stir a pat of butter into each bowl. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately.

From "Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook" by Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, © Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Co. Inc.


Serves 1

To serve as an appetizer, use two scallops per person. For an entree, use five or six scallops per person.

2 large sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pieces thinly sliced prosciutto (per person)

Add scallops to a bowl and pour in just enough olive oil to lightly coat the scallops. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Lay out thin strips of prosciutto and cut to appropriate size to wrap the scallops.Wrap up the scallops and use a little olive oil to keep the prosciutto from unwrapping. This can be done ahead of time and kept refrigerated. You can use a barbecuing grill, saute pan, cast iron pan with raised ridges or indoor grill to cook the scallops. When the cooking surface is very hot, grill the scallops until done, brushing with a little of the marinade. Scallops will be opaque on the ends when done. Do not overcook. Serve.

From "Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook" by Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, © Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Co. Inc.


Trim the foot. The part of the scallop we eat in the United States is the adductor muscle. (In Europe they eat the whole scallop.) There's a little piece of meat that may still be attached to the adductor muscle after shucking that many people call the foot. It's chewy and doesn't taste like the rest of the scallop meat.

"A lot of chefs are leaving the foot on," said Elaine Tammi. "It should be taken off. Some chefs like to make a sauce of just the feet because they do have a stronger taste than the scallop does."

If you're going to pan sear your scallops, choose dry scallops. Put a steel pan over medium-high heat. Add butter or some olive or grapeseed oil. Season the prepared scallops with salt and pepper and gently put them in the pan. A bay scallop will take about 45 seconds per side to sear, Karen Tammi says, while a sea scallop will take 1 to 1½ minutes per side.

Once you put the scallop in the pan, don't move it around. Let it sit there so it can caramelize on the bottom. When the scallop is ready, it will pull away easily from the pan without sticking.

"You pull two or three of those off, go into your cabinet and find your favorite dressing, then get some nice greens and serve that as a salad or a light dinner," Tammi said. "Put your own dressing on it, and it makes you look like you're one of the best chefs ever. It's a very easy recipe, and it's quick too."

There are lots of variations to a good pan sear. Elaine Tammi likes hers cooked in brown butter.

"You let the butter get very brown, and then as the scallops are in the pan you just spoon some of the brown butter over the top."

Brawn's favorite way to prepare scallops is to pan-sear them in butter and then top them with a dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise, a popular brand of Japanese mayo.

She also suggests a preparation that's a favorite at J's Oyster on the waterfront: Make a sauce that's two parts butter and one part honey. Pan sear the scallops in butter, then add the honey-and-butter mixture and spoon over the shellfish. Put the scallops in a casserole dish, sprinkle with cracker crumbs and broil them.

Try them many different ways. Scallops are versatile. You can bake them, broil them, sear them, saute them, grill them or use them in a ceviche.

Don't overcook. This will just make the scallop meat tough. Better to undercook than overcook. 


Ask questions. If it's not December, January, February or March, it's not scallop season, and chances are the "fresh Maine dayboat scallops" you see on the menu are either not from Maine or they have been frozen.

Chefs aren't necessarily lying about what's on their plates; they may have been told they were buying Maine scallops when they were not. The key is to ask questions, Brawn said, so that chefs, dealers and market owners will know that having fresh Maine product is important to consumers.

"(Consumers) want small boats, not corporate boats," Brawn said. "They want really fresh seafood, not older seafood. They want it not treated. So Maine really has an opportunity. There's a lot of economic potential in Maine's scallop fishery, and it's not going to be realized until consumers start demanding Maine scallops."

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: MeredithGoad


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Additional Photos

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One of Togue Brawn’s favorite scallop preparations calls for a sauce that’s two parts butter and one part honey.

Photo courtesy of Togue Brawn

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Prosciutto-wrapped scallops

Photos from “Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook” by Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, © Elaine Tammi and Karin A. Tammi, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Co. Inc.

click image to enlarge

Scallop and corn chowder


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