Posted by: travelrat | December 23, 2009


One of our tasks at Domaine St. Raymond was preparing scallops. They’re easy enough to cook; you just lightly fry the edible part in a little butter. The edible part is the adductor muscle, the one which enables the scallop to move around the sea-bed, feeding and making little scallops. The trick is getting that little guy, which is about the size, shape and colour of a marshmallow out of the shell in the first place.

Now, even if you never saw a scallop before, you’ll be familiar with its shell; it’s that used as an emblem by the Shell Oil Company.

It’s also the emblem of the Camino de Santiago, which isn’t all that far away. This route terminates at Compostella de Santiago, in Spain, the reputed burial site of St. James. Pilgrims on the way there used to take a scallop shell, in order to scoop up water from any stream or fountain they passed. The shell would often be pinned to the pilgrim’s hat, and was quickly accepted as a sign that the wearer was on a pilgrimage, and eventually, as the sign of St. James himself.

We were shown how to open the scallop with a deft knife-stroke, and extract the ‘noisette’ with a spoon. The rest of the ‘gubbins’ was thrown away …. with advice to double-bag it ‘ otherwise, you’ll have every cat for miles around at your dustbins!’But, we kept the concave part of the shells, and washed them out. They’d be used for seving a seafood starter at a subsequent meal. And, as I pointed out before, we’re not too far from the Camino de Santiago, so I suppose there’s the odd chance of a pilgrim pitching up needing a shell.


  1. Scallops are the only seafood that don’t make me violently ill. God bless scallops!

    • I think I read somewhere that, if there are poisons or pollutants about, molluscs are the first to absorb them, which is why so many people are allergic to them.

      But, my main objection to most seafood (molluscs, crab, lobster, prawns, etc.) is the fiddling about getting them out of their shells.

      But, when it’s done for you, like here ….

  2. Plinius the Old, the ancient Roman scientist prized the scallops as good for curing biliary stones (maybe it was just a good pretest for eating a lot of them) and Horatius liked very much the scallops from Taranto (the ancient Taras) in the South of Italy; according to him they were the best!

    • Hi, Giambattista!

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like what you read here, and will return.

  3. recipes –

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