How to open a scallop


How to open a scallop

8 December 2014

How to open a scallop

When buying scallops in their shells, ensure they are still alive – they will be closed, or when the shells are tapped, they close. If the scallops are dead, the shells will remain open when tapped.

Shucked scallops should be kept covered by a damp tea towel in the fridge for no more than 24 hours.


Hold the scallop firmly in your hand with the flat side of the shell next to your thumb and the curved side next to your fingers. The tip of the shell should be on the work surface
Slide a knife into the shell at the top and twist so that the hinge breaks
Slide the knife down the flat side of the shell to release the meat
Open and use a spoon to dislodge the scallop from the other half of the shell; the scallop is connected by a white muscle so free this part and the rest should come away easily
You now need to remove the ‘skirt’ of the scallop: holding the scallop in your hand, locate the white muscle and use the thumb of your free hand to slide in between the muscle and the meat. Slide your thumb all the way round the scallop being careful not to tear the flesh
Carefully pull the skirt from the scallop and discard
Wash the scallop quickly in iced water removing any residue
Place onto a tea towel to dry

Serving suggestions

The sweetness of scallops can be complemented with rich ingredients such as black pudding or caviar or earthy flavours like mushrooms, celeriac, nettles or truffle as well as offset by citrus, chilli or spice . Why not try James Sommerin's scallop with Iberico ham and parsley foam or Marcello Tully's Scallop mousse, Geoffrey Smeddle’s Scallop carpaccio with basil, coriander, mint and lime or for something a bit more unusual, Tony Fleming's Ceviche of Orkney scallops with strawberries.

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