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Some people get grossed out just thinking about eating any meat or seafood raw. Some may even stop you from eating raw food, like scallops, because they could make you sick. So, the question on the mind of many seafood connoisseurs is, can you eat raw scallops?
Yes, you can eat raw scallops, but it’s safer not to. While there are some techniques to prepare them before eating them raw, you still run the risk of getting sick. These “raw cooking” methods are also mostly recommended for freshly harvested scallops that will be immediately consumed. Read on to find out more about the intricate details of preparing and consuming this seafood.
How do you know if a scallop is bad?
When choosing scallops, you should make sure to go for the freshest ones to help reduce the chances of contracting a food-borne illness. Go for live ones if you can get your hands on them to make sure that they will not spoil quickly.
You know that a scallop has already gone bad if you haven’t seen any form of movement from it. To be sure, tap the closed shells and see if they open up. For open shells, tap them as well to see if they close. It doesn’t matter if they open or close slowly. If they show some degree of movement, they are generally okay for preparation and consumption.
Will raw scallops make you sick?
Can you eat raw scallops? Yes, but they can also make you sick if you meet the conditions that can affect your tummy.
Strictly speaking, eating raw scallops is okay. A lot of people attest that they taste great when eaten raw because of the subtle natural sweetness that goes with them. If you’re getting your scallops from the supermarket, it’s best not to eat them raw because they may not be good enough already.
When looking for the best scallops, avoid those with broken shells. The smell should be a bit salty with a hint of sea-like undertone. If it smells bad or too fishy, throw it away even if the shell is open. Also, get rid of shells that don’t open even if you have cooked them thoroughly.
How do you clean scallops before cooking?
Compared to seafood like mussels, scallops are much easier to clean. Rinse the shells under cool water. It’s best to clean them under running water to help get rid of the sand as well. Pat them dry, and they’re ready for the next step. Get rid of side muscles if there are still some that are attached to the shells.
Side muscles are the small rectangular tissues found along the scallops’ sides. They are usually tough, so they are not edible. Pinch these with your fingers and pull them out. Some shells will not have them anymore because they were already dislodged during processing and transportation.
How should scallops be cooked?
There are various ways to cook scallops. Some of them include searing, baking, poaching, boiling, and marinating.
- Poaching is your cooking method of choice if you’re planning to mix the scallops in a salad.
- Searing is a nice way to eat the scallops by themselves. Just toast all sides until they turn a bit crusty. Serve with a dash of olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices.
- Baking is a nice way to experiment with scallops. A crowd favorite is a combination of butter, cheese, and preferred herbs and spices.
- Boiling is great for soup recipes. Scallops go well with vegetables and hearty recipes.
- Marinating is the closest thing you’ll get to eating “raw” scallops. Just soak them in vinegar combined with onions, shallots, and other herbs and spices you want and refrigerate them. Let the mixture sit for at least three hours before eating.
Do scallops have to be cooked through?
Not necessarily. The part that you usually eat is considered a lean type of muscle. Therefore, it doesn’t need tedious processing to be edible. Aside from this, overcooking the scallops makes the meat tough and chewy instead of smooth and buttery in texture. Because it’s difficult to tell if the scallops are cooked “just right,” it’s better to undercook them a little to enjoy their flavor and texture.
Can you cook frozen scallops without thawing?
Yes. You can cook them with or without thawing. If you’re planning to poach or boil them, there’s no need to thaw them. The gradually rising temperature of the water should be gentle enough to “thaw” them and retain the texture and flavor. However, if you use them for other cooking methods, it’s best to thaw them first.
Conclusion: Can You Eat Raw Scallops?
So, can you eat raw scallops? Yes, but you have to make sure to get fresh ones. They should also come from reputable sources, so you know if the source is clean or full of microorganisms. It’s important to note that proper preparation of scallops is required, so you don’t run the risk of getting seafood poisoning.
Given these things, eating scallops should be okay for most people. The only ones who may not be allowed to eat them are pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. Like other shellfish, scallops are potentially toxic because of what they eat and how they get their food. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when you encounter these groups.