“A pint’s a pound the world around” is an old-time expression my grandmother used when portioning up gallons of food. With the Maine scalloping season coming to a close, I am remembering this as we are freezing packages of the delicious bivalve to enjoy for the remainder of the year.
Scallops freeze quite nicely if the oxygen has been removed and the package heat-sealed. Yes, you really need a machine. This is a place where zipper-type bags or plastic freezer containers don’t do the trick. We’ve “discovered” packages of scallops buried in the freezer over two years that were still plump and flavorful.
We usually freeze two gallons, or 16 pounds, and the whole process from start to finish takes about two hours. I start by gently rinsing the scallops and removing the hard, rubbery muscle. You can discard the muscle, or I freeze it to later use in a preparing a fish stock.
Divide the scallops into meal sizes, keeping in mind that an average serving size is 4 ounces, or about four scallops. We divide our scallops into packages of 4, 8 or 16. A meal for two is a package of eight. A package of 16 feeds four, or two, with encores (leftovers) for a second meal. My mother, who lives alone, appreciates the smaller, 4-ounce package size.
To defrost, remove the package to the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. A quick defrost method would be to immerse the package in warm water, not hot, changing the water as needed. No microwaves! This creates a rubbery, unpleasant textured product.
Scallops make an elegant repast when simply prepared. In the recipe for Seared Maine Scallops, the scallops are sliced in half horizontally and seared in butter. The sauce is a simple deglazing with white wine, and the addition of a creative condiment that is probably hiding in your pantry like a citrusy-ginger marmalade or rhubarb chutney.
Maine scallops are a luxury, a true gift from the sea. Fortunately, with a little modern technology, it’s a seafood we can enjoy all year.
Seared Maine Sea Scallops With Carrot Ginger Sauce
- 1 pound Maine sea scallops cleaned and muscle removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Sea salt and fresh pepper
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup Carrot Ginger Marmalade
- Wash and clean the Maine sea scallops. Cut them in half on the diagonal. Season with sea salt and fresh pepper. Warm a platter in a 200-degree oven. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Brown the scallops on both sides. Remove from pan to the platter in the oven. To prepare the sauce, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Simmer until reduced, then stir in the Carrot Ginger Marmalade and cook until syrupy. Spoon over the scallops and serve. Makes four servings.