PECONIC BAY SCALLOPS

Sweet, silken and delicate, Peconic Bay Scallops, hailing from Long Islands Great Peconic Bay, is a true delicacy and when exceptionally fresh, they are good enough to eat raw.

 

The Peconic Bay, about 75 miles east of New York City had long produced these sweet and tender mollusks, closely related to the tradition sea scallop, which have been deemed the most delicious mollusk that New York has to offer.

 

In better days, the Peconic Bay system provided over 80 percent of the New York State bay scallop harvest. But in 1985, an exotic algae, referred to as the brown tide, almost completely depleted their habitat and virtually wiped out the scallop population.

 

Fortunately, the past few springs and summers, baymen and fisherman noticed significantly more baby scallops. And in 2004, Suffolk County awarded Cornell University’s marine center in Southold a four-year grant of $1.8 million dollars to expand its efforts to raise and seed the bays with scallops.

 

Slowly, the population is growing, but in the meantime, one should savor and take delight in these sweet luxuries. Bay scallops are available from late September through March and can be found in local specialty markets throughout the city.

 

To open a live scallop (a dead one should be discarded), first rinse in cool water, then carefully slide a flat knife blade through the rounded edge beyond the skirt and beard to where the muscle is attached to the shell. Sever carefully, remove the beard and skirt and discard, then release the muscle from the other shell in the same fashion. Remove the prize and treat very gently when handling.