Seafood Purveyor Jon Alexis: Nantucket Bay Scallops are Here
Seasonally, spring and summer provide the largest bounty from the sea. Warmer temperatures and longer days prove ideal for fisherman and the selection of unique seafood available cannot be rivaled.
Alas, we’re well past summer. So goodbye Alaskan halibut, hunker down until March. Goodbye wild Pacific salmon, we’ll miss you too until the springers run in April. Soft shell crabs? Black cod? See you next May, stay delicious!
But a few delicious ocean treats only appear in your local fish market when the temperature drops and the days get shorter. Nature has a unique way of opening one door when another closes. You know, that whole “to everything there is a season turn, turn, turn” thing.
Each year in early November, fishermen grab rakes and waders to brave the rough, pristine sea of Madaket, Wauwinet, Tuckenuck and Nantucket Town in search of what can only be described as the finest bay scallop in the world.
The genuine “Cape” bay scallop from Nantucket Island is known by fine chefs and discerning diners around the world as the Earth’s sweetest scallop. Include this fishmonger on that list. This is the candy of the sea right here…the kitchen scientists of El Bulli couldn’t come up with a taste so perfectly balancing sweet and savory.
Nantucket Bay Scallops are off-white in color, lean and rich. About twice the size of a “normal” bay scallop but about half or a third as big as your average sea scallop…usually 30-40 per lb. Their naturally high sugar content make them the sweetest, most delicious scallop you’ve ever tasted. And the texture…soft, tender, almost velvety.
Nantucket Bays may be served raw as appetizers (perfect for ceviche) or broiled, sautéed, fried or in casseroles and chowders. Personally I just sauté in butter with a little onion salt/white pepper/garlic powder mix. Don’t overcook. Basically just sear them, if they are a little underdone on the inside that’s ideal.
Change your life: eat more fish.
Jon Alexis is the co-owner of TJ’s Fresh Seafood Market & Catering, 11661 Preston Road, Dallas.