What is a scallop?
July 30, 2010
My fiancee asked me: what is a scallop? I didn’t really know, so I decided to do some research on the topic.
Biologically, a scallop is a creature similar to an oyster (and indeed part of a family, Pectinidae, which is closely related to clams and oysters). Thanks, Wikipedia. You should know that (a) they have eyes!, (b) they can swim by clapping their shells shut, which ejects water that propels them forward - see video!, and © their name is derived from the French escalope, meaning “shell”.
Culinarily, what we think of a scallop is the scallop’s adductor muscle (which is far more well-developed in scallops than it is in e.g. an oyster, allowing them to swim). There’s also scallop roe, both male and female, which I won’t get into here.