Scallops are popular all over the world, and Japan is no exception.
Their chunky adductor muscles (the part you actually eat) make these shellfish brilliant jumpers: in fact, they have even been known to travel as far as 500 meters in a single night!
Scallop farming has been on the rise in recent years, which means that we can now enjoy them all year round, but the real scallop season — when they are at their most meaty and succulent — starts in the fall and lasts about three months.
In Japan, they are gathered in northern areas like Tohoku and my home prefecture of Hokkaido. Scallops can of course be enjoyed raw as sushi or sashimi, but they also work great in a wide range of cooked dishes.
Scallops top the tables in taurine content!
Like oysters and various types of clam, scallops contain taurine, a useful amino acid which helps to lower cholesterol, strengthen lung function, prevent high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, and lower blood sugar.
In fact, they contain even more taurine than any other taurine-rich shellfish, weighing in at between 769mg and 1006mg per 100g!
Packed with goodness and flavor
Scallops also contain glutamic acid, which not only imparts that distinctive umami taste but also serves as fuel for the brain: scallops are known to help alleviate signs of dementia.
What’s more, scallops are a good source of vitamin B and minerals such as zinc, which is great for conditions affecting the sense of smell, and iron, which is essential to oxygen supply.
And their vitamin B2 helps convert fat and carbs into energy, making scallops a great protein source for anyone counting calories.