Alan / Julie Scallop Diving – Photo by Tommy Thompson, VisitNaturalNorthFlorida.com
July kicks off scalloping seasons in Florida. These tiny treasures are fun to harvest and delicious to eat.
The waters around Homosassa, Crystal River, Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach, Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas on Florida’s northwest coast will be filled with an armada of boats beginning July 1 when Florida’s scalloping season officially opens.
Vessels of all sizes, from kayaks to fishing boats and pontoons are the first thing I remember seeing on my first scalloping trip a few years ago. I had no idea harvesting the small bivalve mollusks was so popular but I soon realized this was yet another way to experience the real Florida and a true Florida delicacy.
The areas where you can scallop are often remote, secluded places that have have been untouched by developers. Only the Gulf waters extending from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County line are open to scallop harvesting.
For those who don’t have access to a private boat, several charter boat companies in Homosassa and Crystal Rivers offer scalloping adventures for both individuals and groups.
Recreational harvesters need a Florida Saltwater Fishing License, even if scalloping from shore. Snorkeling equipment comes in handy and many rental boats provide everything you need for an enjoyable day on the water. Be aware that reservations fill up fast with the rental companies.
There are limits to how many scallops you can take from each trip. Each person is limited to two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shells or one pint of scallop meat. I thought this was an abysmally small amount until my friends and I had to clean them. And it was definitely enough for my favorite dish: sautéed scallops tossed with angel hair pasta and parmesan cheese.
If your palate is more adventurous, you may want to try this Scallop Slider recipe, courtesy of Tracy Newton at The Scallop Hunter.
But hurry to catch these little gems. Scalloping season ends Sept. 24!
To find other outdoor lifestyle travel experiences for your family in Florida, visit Natural North Florida website or call 877-955-2199
Go Scallop Hunting in Homosassa
Scallop season ends in September, so venture out more and go scallop hunting with Scallopgirl Tracey Newton of The Scallop Hunter. Visit their website at www.scallophunter.com or call 727-480-4490
Scallop hunting with Tracey in Homosassa, Florida.
Recipe / Scallop Sliders
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
2 TBS butter
2 lbs fresh bay scallops
3 TBS all-purpose flour
3 TBS bread crumbs
2 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
½ cup finely chopped fresh chives
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 TBS fresh lime juice
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
2 TBS vegetable oil
12 Dinner Rolls, lightley toasted
Cilantro Mayo, recipe follows
In a small skillet saute onion in butter over medium heat until translucent. Cool.
Place scallops in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped or chop by hand. Transfer to large bowl and add remaining ingredients, except vegetable oil. Add in the cooled onions.
Cook’s Note: Mixture should not be too loose. If necessary, add a bit more flour or another egg.
Shape the mixture into small burgers, approximately 2 inches in diameter.
Place on a waxed paper lined sheet tray, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add scallop sliders and cook until browned and cooked through.
Place on small soft dinner rolls and top with a bit of Cilantro Mayo.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cilantro-Lime Mayo Ingredients:
4 TBS fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup mayonnaise
freshly ground black pepper
Blend all ingredients in food processor except mayonnaise and salt and pepper.
Process until cilantro is fine.
Add mayonnaise and process just until blended.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste
Visit ScallopHunter.com for other great ways to enjoy Florida’s scallop.