Saturday, June 19, 2010
Fresh Florida Scallops
Here's Gary holding the first scallop he harvested today, the opening day of scallop season in Florida. The gulf scallop float in the sea grass and the water is so clear you can see them easily. When they sense you are near they "scallop" away by snapping their shells together but only a short distance. We were three miles out in the gulf where the water is only four to five feet deep. They say for every mile you go out in the gulf, the water only drops a foot in depth.
We booked a scallop trip through River Safaris in Homosassa. Captain Frank was a great guide and his wife Sherry knows just how to find the scallops. Here's a photo of Frank in front of the scallops we got today. That looks like a whole lot of scallops, but after they are cleaned there is a tiny, sweet morsel of scallop.
I read that scallop season was opening two weeks earlier than normal so I called to see if could book a tour. I really just wanted to see what it was like to go out in the gulf and to get the scallop shells, although I do like scallops. Here are a couple of baby osprey we saw in their nest on the way out to the scallop area.
Look at the Boston ferns hanging from the porches of this grand old house along the channel. Yesterday Gary was making all kinds of excuses why he didn't want to go scalloping. He doesn't like scallops, didn't want to swim with alligators, didn't have fins or snorkel. We ran and got fins and a snorkel and I booked the tour. Now Gary is raving about the trip and wants to get a boat. What thanks do I get? He wants me to clean all the scallops and cook them too.
This is a view from the boat looking out into the gulf. There's mile after mile of water everywhere, and the boat is gently rocking us as we take in the views.
Here's what the river channel looks like on the way to and from the gulf. One of Gary's and my first dates he took me to a seafood restaurant and I had fresh scallops served in the shells. Those shells were a beautiful coral color. I saved those shells and later when we were married I made a scallop shell wind chime. I drilled the scallops shells and threaded fishing line through and attached the line to a piece of driftwood. The small scallop shells make a nice tinkling sound as they knock against one another.
Here's what scallops looks like in the shell after they've been cleaned. To clean the scallop, Frank suggested putting them on ice and then the shells would open. He recommended using a shop vac to clean the scallops. Just take the filter out of the vac and vacuum away.
You can see using a shop vac makes a messy job much easier. Gary opened the shells and used the shop vac to clean them. Then Gary handed the shell to me and I used a paring knife to scrape the scallop off the shell into a bowl.
I decided to pan fry the scallops. I sauteed two tablespoons of butter, added some chopped garlic, about 12 mushrooms, a tablespoon of capers (drained well) and let the mushrooms soften a bit, then added in the scallops. They were really tasty. Gary would never eat scallops before today. After eating these he now says he likes scallops.
Most of the shells are brown and green on one side and white, tan or cream on the other side. You know I'll be making scallop wind chimes real soon and there's sure to be a scallop or two in clay. Comments and suggestions are welcome.