One of Nantucket’s main attractions is its diverse cuisine, which prominently features seafood. You will love your time on this island if you are into seafood, with the famed Nantucket Bay scallops being a must-try delicacy.
The scallops, which are smaller and tastier than regular sea scallops, feature in many restaurants and raw bars on the island. Many chefs and food lovers appreciate this scallop’s sweet and delicate flavor, which contributes to their fame. We have a lot of information to share with you about this shellfish to satisfy your curiosity.
Nantucket Bay Scallop Profile
As earlier hinted, the Nantucket Bay scallop is a shellfish that is relatively smaller and native to Nantucket waters. The inshore eelgrass allows the scallops to thrive while shielding them from predators. After harvesting, the target is the fleshy abductor muscle, which forms the main part of various dishes.
Harvesting Nantucket Bay Scallops
The harvesting season of Nantucket Bay scallops is from November to around March, though it starts a month earlier for the island’s residents for non-commercial purposes. The non-commercial harvesting of Nantucket Bay scallops is a tradition that has existed for a long time. Scalloping is by hand or boat, depending on the water’s depth.
To participate, you need a shellfish permit from Nantucket’s police department. Residents of the island over 60 can get the licenses for free, and it does not expire. Residents aged 14-59 pay $35, while non-residents can apply for a one-week permit for $50 or a one-year license for $125. Going for a one-year permit is better if you plan on staying on the island for a long time.
When the scalloping season starts, you should prepare yourself with utilities such as snorkeling gear, a boat, and a harvesting basket. If you are new to scalloping, you can get a guide to lead you through. Shellfish hunting is a fulfilling activity that allows you to experience Nantucket’s waters and is perfect if you are with family or friends.
Keep in mind that scalloping can be pretty restrictive, primarily due to temperature variations. Usually, fishermen keep off the activity when the temperatures are below 28⁰F, especially in January.
Preparing Nantucket Bay Scallops at Home
After harvesting Nantucket Bay scallops, you should prepare them for the table. Many people love eating them raw, with a touch of lemon juice or soy sauce with seasoning. If you do not like raw seafood, you can grill the scallops.
Other ways to prepare Nantucket Bay scallops are baking with herbs, deep frying, and lightly pan-searing until golden brown.
Where to Eat Nantucket Bay Scallops
Getting Nantucket Bay scallops in Nantucket is a walk in the park, as almost all restaurants that offer seafood have the scallops prepared in various ways. Large restaurants on the island have raw bars, with the scallops being part of the attraction, which may also include oysters, clams, and shrimp.
Alternatively, you may buy fresh Nantucket Bay scallops and prepare them your preferred way.
Nantucket Bay scallops are among the most coveted seafood in the world due to their exceptional taste and texture and are exclusively found in Nantucket. You should not pass up a chance to enjoy these scallops when in Nantucket by visiting major restaurants specializing in them. Additionally, you can participate in family scalloping during the fall.