Are Scallops Okay to Eat Raw?


The main thing in a scallop is its taste, a unique sweet-creamy, unique in its kind. No other shellfish can boast of such a combination. Of course, like other seafood, the best scallops are those that are taken from the bottom of the sea and immediately eaten. Scallops do not like long heat-treatment: the simpler and faster they are cooked, the better they are. But what about raw scallops?

Can you eat raw scallops? You can eat raw scallops as long as they are fresh. The shell must be closed tightly, and there should be no foul odor. Raw scallops will have their natural sweetish, nutty, creamy taste and juiciness. Remember that raw seafood may contain deadly bacteria that can be killed by heat treatment. 

Raw scallops can be seasoned with soy sauce, which adds a pleasant touch to the sweet clam flavor. A few drops of lime or lemon juice will reveal scallops’ flavor better. Raw young scallops are firm like meat, with a mild marine flavor ranging from sweet creamy to salty. You can make delicious sushi, sashimi, tartar or ceviche with raw scallops.

Are Scallops Safe to Eat Raw?

Are scallops okay to eat raw? Fresh scallops are safe to eat raw as they are well “marinated” in seawater and therefore require minimal cooking. Scallops are okay to eat raw only if they are fresh and of high quality from clean waters. Raw scallops will satisfy you with their naturally sweet and creamy taste. However, if you get infected scallops, you may get food poisoning. 

The most delicious scallops are live, says diver Marko Kaldmaa. Sometimes, while in the sea, he prefers to have a bite toe eating sandwiches taken from home, but with scallops freshly caught in the sea. He does not even need any utensils as he can eat directly from the shell.

It is enough to cut the scallop meat into thin slices, sprinkle lightly with lemon and lime juice or salt and pepper, and it will be like a carpaccio. You can eat scallops in many ways — boiled, fried, grilled or even raw. Kaldmaa is so used to eating raw scallops that he can eat them without any spices because the sea saltwater already gives them their taste.

Do scallops have to be fully cooked? Fresh scallops do not need to be fully cooked. In fact, scallops are often eaten raw in sushi, sashimi, tartar or ceviche to enjoy a real sweetish, buttery and juicy taste and unique aroma. Scallops, however, also can be cooked in many ways — boiled, fried, grilled or steamed. 

Since scallops are small and the meat is very tender, the main task is not to overdo it during the cooking process. If you have large scallops, make small, criss-cross cuts on one side before cooking so that the fillets do not remain soggy on the inside. Scallops are cooked in 3-4 minutes in a pan or grill. If a scallop is subjected to a longer heat treatment, the meat becomes tough, “rubbery,” and loses all its taste. Fresh scallops will be ready in just 1-2 minutes.

Fresh scallops with green salad and white wine are a great snack before the main course. Scallop meat can also be eaten in a processed form, lightly fried on a grill or frying pan in butter or olive oil; after heat treatment, the meat acquires a delicate nutty flavor. Due to their nutritional properties, scallops are very well absorbed, and traditionally dry white wine or champagne are used as companions.

How to Choose Scallops?

If you want to eat raw scallops, it is important to know how to choose fresh scallops of the highest quality. Here are some tips on how to choose scallops:

  • Appearance. If you buy fresh scallops from the fish market, make sure they are alive. Shells should be heavy and well-sealed or close when touched with no cracks or signs of crushing.
  • Origin. The seller must have a package with a label, which must indicate the name of the shellfish, the name of the manufacturer, an indication of the cleaning center and an expiration date that cannot exceed 5 days from the date of packaging.
  • Size. The minimum shell diameter allowed for sale is 10 cm. However, the bigger the mollusk, the older it is and the fewer nutrients it has. Choose medium-sized shells.
  • Smell. Shells should resemble sea freshness. It should not have a foul, fishy odor.
  • Color. Fresh scallop meat is grayish or pinkish-cream in color. White color is a sign of a poor-quality product that has been soaked for a long time to extend the shelf life. The white muscle should be pure white, and the coral should be bright orange.

Scallops are made up of water and protein, with virtually no fat. Thanks to this composition, scallops taste sweet, creamy and juicy. The taste of the mollusk is influenced by the water in which it lived, or rather, the percentage of salt.

Scallops are a very perishable product, so most often, stores sell quick-frozen scallops in shells. When buying a frozen product, you should give preference to shellfish in a cleaned form and vacuum packed. When cleaning the scallops, the intestines are removed along with the shells, which reduces the likelihood of product spoilage. Buying shellfish by weight is not a very good option, as they quickly lose moisture, becoming dry and hardly edible.

The Bottom Line

Scallops are a delicious seafood delicacy. In addition to their taste, they are very useful, therefore they are recommended for use by the people who have various health problems, even with diabetes and gout. Low calorie content, high value of shellfish protein, high amount of vitamins and minerals make it an excellent dietary product.

However, you should not overdose on scallops. Shellfish meat contains methylmercury, which can accumulate in the human body, so you shouldn’t eat it more than three times a week.

To prepare a delicious and delicious dish, you should learn how to choose and defrost the product correctly so as not to deprive scallops of their juiciness and health benefits. Scallops are a perishable product, therefore any violation of the terms and conditions of their storage and defrosting can lead to food poisoning.

In order for a dish of sea scallops to bring pleasure to the taste, when preparing it, you need to remember that they are very delicate. It is necessary to devote a minimum amount of time to the heat treatment of the shellfish, because its meat can be eaten even raw. To prevent scallop meat from becoming rubbery, you need to cook them quickly or eat raw.

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