Shell spherical; valves convex, of nearly equal dimensions, rather strong; ribs, eighteen or twenty in number, finely striated, both longitudinally and transversely; auricles nearly the same size; ligament internal; hinge without teeth.
* Murray's 'Modern Cookery Book'.
† 'A Man Cook.' See 'Field,' Feb. 20, 1864.
‡ ' Every Day's Needs'.
§ 'Common Sense in the Household,' by Marion Harland.
This is the common scallop of the people, and much smaller than the "Great scallop," also subject to greater variety of colour. Specimens are found quite white, with a dark red line on the summit of each of the radiated ribs (var. lineatus), also brown, yellow, speckled white and brown, purplish-pink, and orange. The specimen figured was dredged up off the Parson and Clerk rocks at Dawlish, and at times there may be gathered basketfuls on the beach between that town, and the mouth of the Exe. The shells are much used in ornamental work; and pretty baskets, pincushions, needle-books, etc, are made from the beautiful variegated valves.
1.Pecten Operoularis or Painted scallop.
del. _G.B. Sowerby, lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp.
The scallop maybe called the butterfly of the ocean, from its power of swimming or flying rapidly through the water. This was observed by Pliny, who says that the scallop is able to dart above the surface of the water, just like an arrow.* By some this power is supposed to be caused by the rapid opening and shutting of the valves, but Mr. Gosse states that, after carefully watching the habits of a Pecten, which he kept for some days in a glass phial of sea-water, he discovered that the flitting motion was performed by forcing jets of water through the compressed edges of the mantle. He says, "When the Pecten is about to leap, it draws in as much water as it can contain within the mantle, while the lips are held firmly in contact. At this instant the united edges of the lips are slightly drawn inward; and this action gives sure warning of the coming leap. The moment after this is observed, the animal, doubtless by muscular contraction, exerts a strong force upon the contained water, while it relaxes the forced contact of the lips at any point of the circumference, according to its pleasure. The result is, the forcible ejection of a jet of water from that point, which, by the resilience of its impact upon the surrounding fluid, throws the animal in the opposite direction, with a force proportioned to that of the jet d'eau". Again, Mr. Gosse adds, "That the Pecten widely opens and forcibly closes its valves if left uncovered by the water, is, doubtless, correct. I have seen my specimen perform such an action, and perhaps it might by such means jerk itself from place to place, with considerable agility. But I do not think so rude a mode of progression could enable it to select the direction of its leaps, which, under water, appears to me to be determined with so much precision".*
* Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.' vol. ii. bk. ix. ch. 45 (29).
Scallops are found pretty generally distributed in all seas, and are much sought after for food. At Weymouth, the average produce of the trawlers is five bushels of scallops per week. They have been sold at two-pence per hundred, 700 going to the bushel;† but they appear to have become scarcer lately, if one may judge by the price at which they are now sold, viz., four-pence a dozen, and two-pence per dozen for the shells, without the fish, for making shell ornaments. The fishermen suppose that they are taken in the greatest numbers after a fall of snow. In Cornwall they are called Frills, or Queens; on the Dorset coast, Squinns, and in the north of France, Vanneau, or Olivette;* and in the south of Ireland the peasantry call them Closheens. The Spanish names for Pecten opercularis are Volandeiras, X.els, or Xelets. Pecten varius is sent in quantities from the department of Charente Inférieure to the markets at Bordeaux, and is there called la Petite palourde,† and in the north of France Petite vanne; and, according to Poli, it is the Pellerinella of the Neapolitans, and the Canestrelli di mare of the Venetians. In Spain it has many names, viz., Zamoriñas, Zamburiñas, Andorriñas, Golondrinas, and Romera, and is used as food, and I have seen quantities in the market at Palma, Majorca.
* 'Devonshire Coast,' by P. H. Gosse, pp. 50, 52. † 'A Year at the Shore,' by P. H. Gosse, p. 25.
Wash the shells well in clean water, then put them into a saucepan over a slow fire until they are open; then take out the fish, take off the beards, and place them on a dish, covering them well with bread-crumbs or flour, and add a little pepper. Then put some oil, lard, or butter into a frying-pan, and when it begins to boil, put in the scallops, and fry them till they are well browned. Shake the frying-pan occasionally, to prevent their mixing together.
Soyer, in his 'Ménagére,' gives the following recipe : "Escallop is exceedingly fine; it should be kept in salt and water some time, to free it from sand. When opened, remove all the beard, and use only the white, red, and black parts. It may be cooked like oysters, and is excellent with matelote sauce".
In Francatelli's 'Cook's Guide,' is a recipe for oyster soup; but he adds that a good soup may be made in the same manner, substituting scallops, instead of oysters, and I shall therefore give it.
* 'British Conchology,' vol. ii. p. 60.
† 'Faune Conchyliologique Marine,' par le Docteur Paul Fischer.
Scald, drain, wash, and beard four dozen oysters (or scallops), reserving their liquor in a pan. Put four ounces of butter into a stew-pan, to barely dissolve over the fire; mix in four ounces of flour; moisten with a pint and a half of good white stock, or milk; season with nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne, and a teaspoonful of anchovy; add half a pint of cream; stir over the fire for a quarter of an hour's gentle boiling, and then, having cut the oysters (or scallops), each into halves, pour the hot soup over them in the tureen".
Place them on a gridiron in the shells, with a piece of lighted turf-coal placed on the upper shell; when cooked, eat them with butter and pepper".
Gwillim, in his 'Heraldry,' says that (according to Dioscorides) the scallop is "engendered of the clew and the air, and hath no blood at all in itself; notwithstanding in man's body (of any other food) it turneth soonest into blood," and adds, "the eating of this fish raw is said to cure surfeit".