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Nantucket Bay Scallops

Nantucket Bay Scallops are presently in season. Don’t blink… and when you see the price, try not to gag.

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Andrea and I never spend our own money on dinner in restaurants, which affords us a special treat at home every now and then– things like Wagyu beef, wild striped bass… and, for a fleeting few weeks every autumn, Nantucket Bay Scallops. (Check out Bay Scallops vs. Sea Scallops for a quick and useful primer on scallops in general. For details specific to the Nantuckets, go here.)

What makes Nantucket Bay Scallops so special? First of all, the tiny and very exclusive island of Nantucket has its own substantial caché. Ever hear of a “Nantucket Mink?” That’s the nickname they’ve given to their iconic, locally-made handbag–

This vintage sucker is presently offered on eBay for $295. New ones cost up to $800.

Secondly, genuine Nantucket Bay Scallops are only seasonally available, and it’s a very short season. And finally, they are really, really delicious… as they certainly should be for $40-50/lb.

And how should one eat them?

The true connoisseurs eat’em raw, just like freshly-shucked oysters. I first tasted them delicately smoked, which played beautifully with their inherent sweetness. If you are cooking them, remember that simpler is better– avoid heavy-handed preparations; our ultra-rich Coquilles St. Jacques recipe, for instance, is best reserved for sea scallops. Andrea and I enjoyed ours very gently sautéed and tossed with a light beurre blanc and scorched broccoli–

Where can one purchase such a rare treat? Here’s a link to multiple seafood shops on the island itself… all of whom are supposedly willing to ship directly to your door. Expect to pay ~$50/lb., including shipping. Are they worth it? Considering the current cost of a nice meal in a fancy restaurant, absolutely.

And the perfect wine, you ask? Here’s where you wisely eschew the heavyweight Chardonnays from California and opt for either an elegant French (Burgundian) version or, alternatively, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. (For a thorough delineation of these three “Royal Sisters,” click here.) Of course, a crisp and dry blanc de blancs bubbly works perfectly as well.

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The older I get, the more I realize that life is all too short. Rare and delicious treats like sharing Nantucket Bay Scallops with my bride make our time together (and life in general) much nicer.

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