Scallop shells you can eat
An individual daily bag limit of bay scallops yields about a pound of edible meat when cleaned, as well as about five pounds of waste in the form of shells and guts. And taking into consideration the time spent gathering bay scallops and the time and energy cleaning them, the meat of a single bay scallop is a precious little thing.
Bay scallops can be prepared in a number of ways. Dusted with corn flour, salt and pepper and deep-fried is a traditional southern method, served with grits and slaw. Sautéed in garlic-infused olive oil and served with pasta and marinara sauce is another. This recipe is a Mediterranean-themed twist on the latter, using about a single limit to feed a family of four. You can “advertise” the dish as one that they can eat the shells as well as the meat.
Scallops in Pasta Shells With Feta
- 16 jumbo pasta shells
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 3 strips lemon peel
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped*
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 pound bay scallop meats, rinsed and patted dry
- Salt and pepper
This recipe serves four people. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Boil pasta shells in a large pot with plenty of water for 8 to 11 minutes (until tender) and rinse with cold water. Spread half the marinara sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, sauté olive oil, garlic, lemon peel and crushed red pepper until the garlic starts to brown. Then add lemon juice, roasted red pepper and the other half of the marinara sauce. Stir and continue cooking for about two minutes. Remove from heat; fold in scallops, spinach, basil and half of the feta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon scallop and marinara mixture into shells and assemble in the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, taking care not to overcook the scallops (and turn them into rubber).
*Roasting peppers is a good way to intensify their flavor. You can roast them under your oven’s broiler, grill them outdoors, or scorch them on your gas range. When fully blackened, let cool, break apart, and remove burned skin and seeds under cold running water. FS
Florida Sportsman Magazine July 2018