What are scallops?
It is nice to know a little history of the scallop as a symbol of pilgrimage and fertility, but what are they? Scallops (like mussels and oysters) are bivalve molluscs. This means that they have two shells. The 'great scallop' familiar to Europeans is Pecten maximus. It is found on sandy or muddy sea beds and feeds by filtering microscopic organisms from the surrounding sea water.
Most scallops are hermaphrodites and spawn twice a year. Although the reproductive organs, or orange coloured roe (coral), are edible, the part of the scallop that most people really enjoy eating is the pale adductor muscle that opens and closes the shell.
Unlike other molluscs that we eat, such as mussels and oysters, most species of scallops are free-swimming and can propel themselves across the sea floor several feet at a time. The adductor muscle is used to rapidly open and close the scallop's two beautiful fan-shaped shells enabling it to propel itself by expelling water.Click here to watch a video of swimming scallops