Tips & Tricks

How to Open Scallop Shells

Coquilles St-Jacques

Perk-to-being-friends-with-a-chef #326 : he will teach you how to open scallops!

This in turn allows you to jump the line at the fish stall, because the people in front of you need to have their scallops opened and cleaned (ha!), but you ask politely if you can just buy yours and go. And you know it’s just a figment of your imagination, but you like to think that they, as the fish guy, look at you in awe and think “wow, this girl opens her own scallops!”.

And here’s how you do it: hold the scallop shell horizontally in your left hand, flat side up, round edge facing you. Insert the end of a round-tipped knife in the opening to the right of the shell, and work the knife towards you, rotating it on itself to open the two halves just enough for you to slip the meaty tip of your left thumb in the gap, and maintain it open.

This is when you start to feel how very much alive the scallop is, as it struggles with all its might to keep that trapdoor shut. Thankfully you are the mightiest of the two, this is what we call an ecosystem.

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