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cutting scallops????

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

OK, so sad to say, I watched Hell's Kitchen (I know I know) but I have a question relating to the scallops here...

 

Living in a coastal fishing town, where the scallop draggers are bringing in dayboat sea scallops.. we would find it heinous to cut them in half like they show on this program.

 

We sear them and throw them in the oven for a bit to finish.

 

Is this a regional thing where folks are cutting them in half like that? I've never seen it before in all my years in kitchens around here.

 

Maybe we're spoiled? After all, we're waiting on the docks for the boats where the scallops are so sweet we really don't even need to cook them. Thoroughly confusing to me.

 

Anyone?

 

Thanks guys

post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by liza View Post

OK, so sad to say, I watched Hell's Kitchen (I know I know) but I have a question relating to the scallops here...

 

Living in a coastal fishing town, where the scallop draggers are bringing in dayboat sea scallops.. we would find it heinous to cut them in half like they show on this program.

 

We sear them and throw them in the oven for a bit to finish.

 

Is this a regional thing where folks are cutting them in half like that? I've never seen it before in all my years in kitchens around here.

 

Maybe we're spoiled? After all, we're waiting on the docks for the boats where the scallops are so sweet we really don't even need to cook them. Thoroughly confusing to me.

 

Anyone?

 

Thanks guys

 

Quote:

After all, we're waiting on the docks for the boats where the scallops are so sweet we really don't even need to cook them

 

Those are nice words to hear.

 

Some cut them because they are too big. Depending the dish,  I sometimes slice them very thin and make a ceviche with them.

But nothng beats a whole scallop.

 

Petals.

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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post
I sometimes slice them very thin and make a ceviche with them.

 

hahaha.. I should have had a qualifier!

post #4 of 27

I find Hells Kitchen to be very entertaining, I watch it on occasion.

 

To answer your question though, I think they are using them in an appetizer so instead of giving 3 large scallops they will give 6 smaller ones giving the perception of greater value. 

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Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #5 of 27

I agree, it adds perception of greater value and also shortens the cooking time for appetizers. 

 

Why would you find it heinous? Things that are big enough get cut into smaller portions. Calamari gets cut into rings, salmon gets cut into filets, strip loins get cut into steaks, etc. 

 

Anyways, I don't know what region you would be talking about either. GR is British, so maybe it just stems from a trick he learned while working for other chefs in Europe. 

 

I generally don't cut them myself but I see no problem with doing it. I like to serve my scallops rare and I think it would be hard to achieve the desired sear while maintaining a rare center if they were cut in half. 

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

I'm on Cape Cod.. and I agree with rare centers. I have never seen the scallops cut anywhere (except on this program) but then I admit to being spoiled and I wouldn't order fish unless I knew the sources.

 

Just didn't know if it was a regional thing and an accepted practice. ,

 

It's like Manhattan clam chowder, it's just not done here and it's sacrilege.. (sorry New Yorkers ;)

post #7 of 27

I usually cook hand-dived scallops (we don't like dredgers in Scotland, as it is perceived as damaging to the sea/loch bottom), most are landed in Mallaig and we get them the same day as landed.  Some of them are huge and are best served when cut in half and quickly seared, lightly,  then served immediately.  I've never finished them in an oven as I think it might toughen the scallop. 

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel View Post

I usually cook hand-dived scallops (we don't like dredgers in Scotland, as it is perceived as damaging to the sea/loch bottom), most are landed in Mallaig and we get them the same day as landed.  Some of them are huge and are best served when cut in half and quickly seared, lightly,  then served immediately.  I've never finished them in an oven as I think it might toughen the scallop. 

Now I'M the one that's jealous!

 

I'm not sure how they would finish in a convection oven.. that might toughen them, but 2-5 min in a standard oven works fine

post #9 of 27

There are still quite a few people out there who couldn't fathom the idea of eating scallops rare.

To that end larger scallops take a long time to cook and before the inside is "done" the outside is already rubbery.

Cutting them into smaller pieces helps them cook faster and the product tastes better as well.

post #10 of 27

Here's a sample menu from the Old Forge which features local produce from the area.

http://www.theoldforge.co.uk/old-forge-evening-menu.html

 

A webcam of the area on a typical 'dreich' Scots day!  http://www.baysider.com/Webcams/United_Kingdom/Mallaig/Sound_Sleet_Mallaig/

post #11 of 27

SORRY, SORRY, SORRY!

 

I've just realised that this thread is in the Professional Chefs forum and I shouldn't be posting here....    I didn't want to just remove my posts as it would make a nonsense of the entire thread.

 

I shall try to be more observant in the future!

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

wouldn't worry about it..

The pub looks phenomenal by the way

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

 helps them cook faster and the product tastes better as well.

How would the product taste better by cutting it in half?

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

How would the product taste better by cutting it in half?

Well....for me......I am able to brown and crisp the edges of all the pieces, and that's what the client likes.

post #15 of 27

Here in LA area, those uniform, button-sliced saute'd scallops, 3 to 6 per plate, present nicely and

is a faily common hi-end appetizer. A very popular 1st course with our clientellle for instance. And lIke

anything else, the thinner the slice the more the saute' permeates the flavour.

 

And unlike Ramsey's boot camp kitchen, they're not all that hard to cook, especially if sliced consistenly.

Problem with that show is just that--it IS a show. If something works....fix it. They WANT problems.

And tension and passsion and unpredictibility and drama. Better to bring up uncooked scallops

4 times in a row and stall the line (even if non sensical) than have a service go off almost flawlessly;

viewership changes channels. I mean all of us in here know how hard it ISNT to cook up a few pre-made

wellingtons. Or saute some fillets. Once you get the timing down....well you have the timing down.

Only they never get it down. Until they're down to four finalists  of course. They play roles and are

billed as a cast.

As to GR, he plays a role too, a character created from his own past experiences. Colorful unpredictible....

and 10-years successful.

post #16 of 27

i'm also from an area that fishes scallops and would never slice them except for as petals has said, for ceviche. if you think the scallop is too big use a smaller one because they're cheaper and a whole one looks so much better. as for the cooking time even a U -10 takes about a minute to cook to rare or med rare so i don't understand that argument. squid is sliced because it cooks more uniformly and steaks are sliced because not many people want to eat an entire striploin  at one sitting. i think the reason some people have a problem searing scallops properly is that they put them wet into a pan that isn't hot enough. in one coastal city i worked in when vern the scallop guy came in we would both eat one raw to confirm they were fresh and the staff that were from inland were sometimes disgusted. i don't remember which one it was but a few years ago i saw one of those cooking idol shows and it was based in one of the judges restaurants in i think chicago. the owner/chef/judge  was disgusted that one of the contestants used frozen scallops and when the contestant told him he got them from his restaurants freezer he didn't know what to say. any restaurant that has scallops on the menu year round uses IQF sometimes. 

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

Here in LA area, those uniform, button-sliced saute'd scallops, 3 to 6 per plate, present nicely and

is a faily common hi-end appetizer. A very popular 1st course with our clientellle for instance. And lIke

anything else, the thinner the slice the more the saute' permeates the flavour.

 

Thank you! There is an explanation then (once again, it's not done here) as the show is in LA it would be considered 'normal' to be presented with cut scallops.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbrad View Post

squid is sliced because it cooks more uniformly and steaks are sliced because not many people want to eat an entire striploin  at one sitting.....

 

 i think the reason some people have a problem searing scallops properly is that they put them wet into a pan that isn't hot enough.

 

Thank you for bringing up the elephant in the room, I for one was envisioning a half a cow LOL but thought I missed the analogy somewhere.

 

It definitely makes a difference you can't properly sear a wet (phosphate treated) scallop. There is a huge difference in quality and texture. HATE those things

 

 

Nice to get regional feedback guys :)

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrad View Post

. the owner/chef/judge  was disgusted that one of the contestants used frozen scallops and when the contestant told him he got them from his restaurants freezer he didn't know what to say.

That was Rick Tramanto, it was on Top Chef a couple of seasons ago.

 

The contestant told him "Well, they came from your walk in" and he replied with "Okay, i'll take the shot, but now you take the shot, nobody forced you to use them!"

Pretty classic exchange, that was.

post #19 of 27

In my neck of the woods, larger sized scallops are sometimes hard to come by, and cost significantly more than smaller ones. Thus, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to cut large scallops to shorten cooking times, rather, I would just choose a smaller scallop. If I needed something chopped, like for a ceviche or some kind of dish where they're pureed, I would buy little bay scallops. tl;dr: I don't get it.
 

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Beebe View Post

In my neck of the woods, larger sized scallops are sometimes hard to come by, and cost significantly more than smaller ones. Thus, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to cut large scallops to shorten cooking times, rather, I would just choose a smaller scallop. If I needed something chopped, like for a ceviche or some kind of dish where they're pureed, I would buy little bay scallops. tl;dr: I don't get it.
 

Well, it's not really about cooking its more about money. 

 

I probably can't get away with using 2 scallops as an appetizer. Maybe I can, I dunno, but if I charge a customer 12-15 (or whatever, just off the top of my head) or more for an appetizer, and I give them 2 scallops with whatever, they might feel a little shortchanged. But if I turn those 2 scallops into 4 by cutting them in half along the equator, then I've upped the perceived value to my guests while still using the same amount of protein. 

 

It would work for entrees as well. 3 scallops might look a little small, but 6 looks like much more. I doubt it has much to do with cooking time and more to do with money/perceived value. 

 

 

 

Quote:
if you think the scallop is too big use a smaller one because they're cheaper and a whole one looks so much better. as for the cooking time even a U -10 takes about a minute to cook to rare or med rare so i don't understand that argument. squid is sliced because it cooks more uniformly and steaks are sliced because not many people want to eat an entire striploin  at one sitting. i think the reason some people have a problem searing scallops properly is that they put them wet into a pan that isn't hot enough. in one coastal city i worked in when vern the scallop guy came in we would both eat one raw to confirm they were fresh and the staff that were from inland were sometimes disgusted. 

 

I don't see how a scallop as large as a u-10 could be cooked in a minute...crap, it takes me a minute (at least) just to get a good sear on it. Granted, when I flip it after searing I don't go much longer than another minute and baste with some butter, but still. And again, I don't think cutting them in half really has much to do with the cooking time, so we agree on that. 

 

Anyways, my point about the striploin an dsquid was just to point out that we cut other seafood/proteins into smaller portions (for a variety of practical and economic reasons) and no one finds it "heinous." 

post #21 of 27

I'd venture a guess the reason Hell's Kitchen cuts their scallops in half is because they are working with a bunch of dilettantes that throw 50 plates in the trash each night.  There are only a few valid reasons to cut scallops in half but for most of us it makes far more financial sense to purchase the appropriate size scallops.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckFat View Post

I'd venture a guess the reason Hell's Kitchen cuts their scallops in half is because they are working with a bunch of dilettantes that throw 50 plates in the trash each night. 

 

Dave

now THAT I believe. It was shocking to see how hard it was for those guys and how much waste there was

Quote:
Originally Posted by Someday

I don't see how a scallop as large as a u-10 could be cooked in a minute...crap, it takes me a minute (at least) just to get a good sear on it. Granted, when I flip it after searing I don't go much longer than another minute and baste with some butter, but still. And again, I don't think cutting them in half really has much to do with the cooking time, so we agree on that. 

 

Cheating 101 for searing wet scallops: light dusting with flour.. it's damned near impossible to get a good sear on a treated scallop

post #23 of 27
Quote:

Originally Posted by DuckFat

View Post

  There are only a few valid reasons to cut scallops in half but for most of us it makes far more financial sense to purchase the appropriate size scallops.

 

Dave

 

Actually it was cheaper for me to carry a single SKU in my kitchen of fresh U10 Dry Pack scallops than use a smaller for apps and the larger for entree's.  Went thru much more product allowing me to negotiate a better price.

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #24 of 27

The only time it should be allowed is to place a slice of truffle in between.  smiles.gif

post #25 of 27

Lol. You said it.

 

Petals.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #26 of 27

anyway, sorry for taking so long to respond ..... when scallops are available in such a range of sizes, why slice larger ones. the argument for slicing three to make them look like six doesn't really make a lot of sense ..... use six 30/40's . the only reason slicing them for ceviche is that it allows them to cure better, not for presentation reasons. SquirrelRJ .... that was the episode.... good memory. one minute for U - 10's might be pushing it but depending on the area and what people are looking for it has proved fine for me in the past; you just  need a very hot pan to start them in. if you need to use soaked scallops place them on paper towel on top of a bleeder tray.

post #27 of 27

Well, again, not that I am necessarily advocating cutting scallops, but a lot of places might use scallops for different things.

 

For example, say I want to have scallops on my lunch menu AND on my dinner menu (different dishes with different garnishes maybe, or maybe the same dish but smaller portion for lunch) but I don't want to order two different size scallops for inventory/space/spoilage reasons. So, instead of offering my lunch scallop dish with, say, 2 whole u-10 scallops on it (instead of 3 or 4 for a dinner main course, because it would be too much for lunch and I would have to charge more) I could cut them in half and increase the guests perceived value on the plate and still only serve two scallops to keep mine and the customer's price down.

 

And again, just to clarify, I'm really just playing devil's advocate here and probably wouldn't cut a scallop. Scallops are my fav. seafood and a nice, plump u-10 scallop is a great treat. My main thing was I didn't think anyone should think that cutting a scallop was "heinous" or something, because it's what we do as chefs everyday...take product, break it down into smaller pieces, cook it and sell it for money. If someone has a valid reason for cutting scallops and it works for them, more power to them. 

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