I love scallops. Like, seriously love them. Fried with butter and garlic. In a mornay. Seared with a creamed corn sauce. And always, always with a crispy glass of white wine on the side. Ah, bliss.
As well as eating them, I love collecting scallops, they are super fun to 'catch'. I say 'catch' because there is not a lot of catching going on, more 'picking up'. They sit nestled in the sand, hiding away. You need to be beady-eyed, searching them out.
Anyway, once you have your (legal) haul of scallops you need you get the little parcels of deliciousness out of their shells. Now, there are plenty of different ways to do this. Below is a step-by-step guide to doing it my way, or more correctly, the way my family does it. You might find that your uncle's neighbour's son does it differently, that's fine. There is no 'correct' way, but you want to make sure you end up with a nice neat scallop and you're not wasting any of the precious meat by leaving it on the shell. We find this way works well, but feel free to modify if another way suits you better.
You will need a blunt pairing knife, or a bread and butter knife and some sea water to rinse them (please, please ever don't rinse fresh seafood in fresh water unless you absolutely have to, it really does destroy the flavour).
First you will need to lie your scallops out belly-down so they open up. We leave them to open while we are rinsing our dive gear - by the time we are done they are good to go.
Hold the scallop in your hand, belly-down. You need to be pretty speedy on the first step, if you're too slow they will close up and you will have to set them aside and wait for them to open again.
Quickly slice the knife in under the belly, releasing the muscle from the shell. You want to make sure you get right under it so you don't leave any of the muscle on the shell.
Once the muscle is released, the whole thing will relax and you will be able to open the scallop right up.
This will leave you with the scallop on the flat side of the shell.
Cut the black belly of the scallop off.
You should now be able to pull the scallop away cleanly from the shell, leaving behind the 'gunk' that you don't want.
All done! Pop your scallop into a bowl of sea water while you are shucking the rest and give them a gentle swirl - this will make sure they are nice and clean. Drain on a paper towel and cook them up that day! Delicious!
Many thanks to my brother for his expert demonstration :-)