Scallops, Oysters and Mussels – OH MY!
We all know there’s a distinct difference in flavor and appearance between these entree favorites. While scallops, oysters and mussels all belong to the mollusk family, they couldn’t be more different in terms of preparation or taste. One thing they do have in common is how popular they are in restaurants across the world. Here’s a guide to what truly makes each type of mollusk unique, both in flavor and anatomy.
Life Before Becoming an Entree
The first difference between these sea creatures is that their lives before reaching your dinner plate are completely different. From the way they build a life in the ocean to the way they move, these mollusks have completely different ways of doing things down below.
Scallops: Scallops are on the move in their environment and use their shells for more than just protection. These delicious, mildly-flavored crustaceans clap their shells together to swim. They’re truly the butterflies of the deep blue.
Oysters: These mollusk babies are as mobile as rocks. Oysters stick to one spot for their whole life and root themselves to a dark, cool surface.
Mussels: Mussels rarely move from any other environment than the one where they attach themselves. Although they’re rather immobile, mussels actually have feet (even though they never really put those feet to good use!)
What the Shell!
The mollusk family adorns a wide variety of shapes and colors with their shells. There’s no exception to that rule when it comes to scallops, oysters and mussels. The variety of colors and shapes leave some prettier than the rest. But lucky for us, they all taste better than they look! The mollusks have been judged in the beauty department, here are the results:
Scallops: Scallops win “most attractive” by far. They have not only one, but TWO colorful shells that hinge together, resembling butterfly wings. They use these beautiful “wings” to fly around the ocean. Whether it’s a beauty competition or a food competition, scallops are tough competition to beat.
Oysters: Oyster shells are oval, gray and rough to the touch. Not only do oysters resemble rocks due to their immobility, but also because of their looks. But like they always say, don’t judge a book by its cover. While their shells may not be the prettiest, the pearl found inside many oysters quickly makes up for it.
Mussels: Mussels are thin with dark long shells, so there’s not much to discuss as far as appearance. But when it comes to flavor…mussels may just take the cake. They’re healthy and pair absolutely perfect with a nice glass of chardonnay. They’re also really good drenched in butter and garlic…did we say healthy? Oops.
The Key Difference…
Of course, the key difference is taste! While it may be cool that scallops clap their shells together to swim, how they taste is far more important to us. Palm Valley Fish Camp specializes in shellfish, so it’s imperative that we highlight the major taste differences.
Scallops: When scallops are prepared correctly, they have a similar delicate texture to a flaky white fish and a mild flavor that’s unrivaled. No matter if they’re in a spicy pasta dish or served on the half shell, their circular surface and cylinder body make for a beautiful presentation. Along with their impressive looks, they also are incredibly good for you. Scallops have loads of magnesium, B12, zinc, selenium and protein.
Oysters: These mollusks are packed with nutrients and lots of flavor. Add some lemon juice and a splash of hot sauce and we have no doubt you’ll fall in love. Depending on the season, water and preparation, oysters can either be sweet or briny. Both are delicious, it simply comes down to personal preference.
Mussels: Whenever most people think of mussels, they often think of the shellfish drenched in an irresistible broth of white wine, butter and garlic. Behind the incredible taste is also large amounts of nutrients. They’re packed with B-vitamins, zinc, selenium and protein. Sit back, sip some vino and let the pros in our kitchen do the work.
Our menu at Palm Valley Fish Camp is full of delicious shellfish options, from Bay Scallops on the Half Shell to a Fried Seafood Platter for Two with Scallops, Oysters, Clam Strips, Shrimp and Fish Filet.Now that you’re well-versed in the difference between scallops, oysters and mussels, come on in and decide which one is your favorite. Warning…there’s a good chance you’ll love them all!