The debate growing up in my family home was wether we liked sea or freshwater scallops better.  My winner Sea!  When researching scallops the extant information does not state wether it is sea or freshwater.  Samuel Pepys mentions in his diary on February 16, 1659 that he received a box of China oranges and two little barrels of scallops from Captain Cuttance for his Lord.  Again, no mention of the type.  As to receipts, I only found two different ones mention.

“Scallops in shells, with onions” is found in William Verrall’s 1759 cookery book and a similar receipt “To broyl scallops” found in The Court & Kitchen of Elizabeth 1664.  Following the William Verrall’s receipt produced an acceptable tasting scallop but nothing worth trying again.  The Receipt calls for using a salamander of which I do not have and even if I did it would be harder to use indoors, so, I used the oven broiler.  I allowed myself to be distracted the short time it needed and I burned it a little.

Take your scallops from your shells, blanch them well, and take off the beards, provide some small old onions, peel off the two outmost skins, and fry them of a nice colour and tender, cut the scallops in thins pieces, put them into a stewpan, with the onions well drained, a little cullis, and pepper, salt , parsley and nutmeg; stew all together a few minutes, squeeze the juice of orange or lemon, and put into the shells, sift over a little fine grated bread, but not to hide what it is, colour with a salamander, or in an oven, and serve ’em to table.
This is a genteel good entremets, with sauce a la Benjamele, with a little Parmesan cheese nicely coloured.
A Complete System of Cookery

*Note: Cullis is the juice that runs out of cooked meat

The second receipt, “To stew scallops” was found in Hannah Glasse’s 1805 cookery book.

Boil them very well in salt and water, take them out and stew them in a little of the liquor, a little white-wine, a little vinegar, two or three blades of mace, two or three cloves, a piece of butter rol’ed in flour, and the juice of a Seville orange.  Stew them well, and dish them up.
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

This produced the best tasting scallops I have ever had.

My redaction of this receipt:

In a bowl place two table spoons white-wine, teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 3 blades of mace, 2 cloves, and the juice of one orange.  Place scallops in boiling salt water for about two minutes.  Remove scallops from water saving two tablespoons of the water.  Place the stuff all back into the pan with 1 Tablespoon of butter rolled in flour allow to stew approximately two minutes on each side.

Result: The family loved the stewed scallops.  The flavouring of the liquid did not over power the scallops, which were tender.  The family found nothing wrong with the scallops with onions, but it may have been that the bread burned in broiling it that did not give the wow that the stewed scallops gave.  I am not sure what would happen if I had used freshwater scallops instead…guess I will have to do this experiment over again with freshwater.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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