Sunday, February 16, 2014

Scallop Mantles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallions in Oyster Sauce (serves 4 as part of a meal)

scallop mantles with shiitake mushrooms and scallions in oyster sauce
I have never eaten scallop mantles or heard of anyone cooking or eating them prior to shucking my own sea scallops less than a year ago.  When asked Mike Anderson, our local fisherman who caught these scallops said he tried them. After spending many hours observing the whole live scallops up close and shucking a large bucket of them I decided not to waste any potential edible parts. The mantles are essentially the scallop's eyes and sensors.  I learned that each scallop has roughly 100 eyes, this alone is quite impressive!  If you want to learn how to shuck a scallop or see photos of the mantles please see my previous post How to Cut the Scallop Muscle Out of the Shell.


cleaned scallop mantles--ready for cooking
(look closely, the tiny dots are the eyes!)
I cleaned the mantles by massaging them in a tablespoon or two of salt for about 5 minutes.  Rinse well and repeat the process two more times to get rid of slime and impurities.  I ate some mantles that day and saved some in a zip-lock bag in my freezer.  Today I decided to make this dish from the pound of mantles that I saved.  I quickly thawed the frozen mantle bag by completely submerging it in a pot of cold water, placing a cup on top to keep the bag in the water. It took about 1/2 hour to partially thaw the bag. I then removed the contents and rinsed well in cold water.  I squeezed as much of the water out as I could by hand prior to cooking.  For this dish I kept the mantles the length that they came instead of cutting them.  Once cooked they resembled noodles or slightly cooked bacon strips.  They taste a bit similar to clam but has a mild crunchy chewy texture to the bite.  My husband laughs and tells me,"we are eating the scallop's lips!" If you are interested in the previous scallop mantle dish that I concocted please see my post Spicy & Garlicky Scallop Mantles.

Scallop Mantles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Scallions in Oyster Sauce (serves 4 as part of a meal)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped or grated garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 C chopped or sliced scallions (reserve about 1-2 teaspoons for garnish)
10 dried shiitake mushrooms (re-hydrated, steam removed, sliced into 4-5 pieces)
1 lb cleaned scallop mantles (keep whole)
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil (plus more to drizzle after cooking)
5 Tbsp water (may omit if you want less liquid)
1 large pinch of sugar
1-2 large pinches of black or white ground pepper (plus more for garnish)

Method:

1) Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the pan is hot add garlic, ginger and scallions.  Saute about a minute.
3) Add shiitake mushrooms, saute about 1-2 minutes.
4) Add scallop mantles, turn heat to high, saute for about 3 minutes.
5) Add oyster sauce, sesame oil, water, sugar, and pepper.  Saute about 1-2 minutes until all the mantles are just cooked.  Remove from heat.
6) Pour the contents into a serving dish, garnish with sliced scallions, drizzle a little sesame oil and add a pinch of fresh ground pepper.

roses from my Valentine!
*If you want to thicken the sauce you can add a little cornstarch (about a tablespoon) to the water, mix this well and then add to the pan under Step 5.
*Avoid overcooking the mantles, just as any seafood.  Once the mantles are cooked they will curl up slightly and turn more opaque.  
*I will be very surprised if you can find scallop mantles for sale in the United States.  The best way to obtain scallop mantles is to buy whole live scallops off the boat, the way scallops or any seafood should be purchased!  I buy my scallops from F/V Rimrack (Rye, NH).  I don't know any better way to eat fresh seafood other than wild caught straight off the boat or from fishing/diving.  If you are interested in eating the mantles you may purchase whole scallops from the Anderson family by visiting: http://www.rimrackfish.com. Please support your local fishermen!  Thank you Captain Mike and family for the fresh and delicious seafood!!
*I have never used a phone to take photos.  This set of photos came from using an android phone.  I think the quality is pretty decent.

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