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  #1  
Old 05-26-2011, 09:20 PM
BoBettie BoBettie is offline
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Fake scallops

Everyone knows about imitation crab (or "Krab") made from fish and pressed/formed to somewhat appear crab like. What about imitation scallops? A guy I know in the food industry says that he's seen scallops that aren't scallops at all, but rather another fish (often a stingray of some sort) that are basically cut out into circular shapes and passed off as scallops. I challenged him for some sort of cite but he had none and just "knew it was done". Some searching online turned up much of the same; no proof but lots of "It gets done, I've seen it!" stuff.

Anyone know the deal on this? If not, we can move this to Cafe Society and just get some good scallop recipes. Mmmmm, scallops.
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  #2  
Old 05-26-2011, 09:28 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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The most recent thread I could find on this board, with links to earlier threads. But it still boils down to, "Yeah, I've heard that, too" but without a specific citation.
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  #3  
Old 05-26-2011, 09:31 PM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
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crabs sticks is easy. bit of a challenge to imitate the texture and consistency of scallop. stingray definitely does not taste like scallop.
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2011, 10:17 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/imitation-scallop.html

Try google. If it is legal and you can buy it, it will be advertised on the intertubes.
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  #5  
Old 05-26-2011, 11:07 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Skallops?
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  #6  
Old 05-26-2011, 11:24 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Many people have claimed scallops are cut from shark fin or processed fish. I've only been able to verify the existence of 'scallop product' in two forms. One where small scallops have been cut from larger ones culled for shape. The other type is made from processed scallop meat, and maybe something else, I couldn't verify it. When cooked enough, it will unroll. A tape of processed 'scallop' meat has been rolled up to form the short cylindrical shape of scallops. The recut scallops lacked flavor, and had probably been frozen for a long time. The rolled up form was nearly flavorless.
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  #7  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:12 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Skallops?
I snerkled. A little.
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:21 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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I have heard this too - they are simply cut using a cookie cutter type of cutter from the wings of a ray or more often a skate. Since these are all the same family as shark it does not surprise me people mention shark too. The texture of skate wings would be a reasonable match, and it is a tasty meat.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2011, 01:19 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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My understanding is that it's relatively easy to spot the difference between a real scallop and a fake one made from skate. The grain of the muscle in a scallop runs from top to bottom; the muscle grain in a skate's fin runs from side to side.
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  #10  
Old 05-27-2011, 07:03 AM
Ronald C. Semone Ronald C. Semone is offline
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I first heard this story about 50 years ago and I still wonder about it every time I eat scallops. I've noticed during the past few years, however, that scallops seem to be bigger than they used to be and are no longer as symetrical as they used to be. Instead of being round, barrel shaped, perfectly flat on the top and bottom, and identical in size, they are larger and more freeform in shape.
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  #11  
Old 05-27-2011, 07:11 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Nonsense-skatewings contain small bone like filaments and are tougher than scallops. However, cod cheek muscles are sometimes passed off as scallops.
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2011, 07:17 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
crabs sticks is easy. bit of a challenge to imitate the texture and consistency of scallop. stingray definitely does not taste like scallop.
Well, it's not like krab is really fooling anyone either. Can anyone honestly not tell the difference between an imitation crab stick and the real thing instantly?
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2011, 08:02 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Nonsense-skatewings contain small bone like filaments and are tougher than scallops. However, cod cheek muscles are sometimes passed off as scallops.
Cite on your cod cheek muscles assertion?
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  #14  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:16 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Cite on your cod cheek muscles assertion?
Yep-I had a plate of them last week in a Gloucester (Ma) restaurant.
They actually are quite good though-almost better than the small scallops (many of which are imported from China-and I would NOT eat those).
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  #15  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:34 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Well, it's not like krab is really fooling anyone either. Can anyone honestly not tell the difference between an imitation crab stick and the real thing instantly?
I can tell immediately, but I prefer Krab over Crab.
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  #16  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:37 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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On a related note ...

In today's NY Times (5/27/11) there was an article stating that some food scientists had analysed the genetic makeup of commonly sold fish in the US. Some 20-25% of it is mislabeled as a better fancier fish than it really is. For some high demand / high cost species, some 70% of what's sold in the US is actually some other cheaper fish. Research revealed a similar level of fraud in Ireland.

Here's the article. It may be behind a paywall for some folks. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/sc...th/27fish.html
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  #17  
Old 05-27-2011, 10:22 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Yep-I had a plate of them last week in a Gloucester (Ma) restaurant.
I don't think "I ate some" qualifies as a citation.
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  #18  
Old 05-27-2011, 11:39 AM
sachertorte sachertorte is offline
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I would think that cod cheeks are more expensive than a standard scallop.
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  #19  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:00 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Possible, but unlikely. Global scallop production (between aquaculture and wild-caught) comes to about 1.5 million tonnes, while global cod production comes to a little over 2.5 million tonnes (though it was once over 4 million).
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  #20  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:29 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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For the common size cod caught and sold now, you won't get many scallops from a cod's cheeks, even the little Bay Scallop size. But those cheeks are not getting sold at cod prices anyway (most cod is sold cleaned, skinned, filleted, and headless), so if you can get scallop prices for the meat, go for it, just don't mislabel it. I have a high level of expertise in seafood, so it would be hard to fool me about scallops, but there are many fish who's meats can't be easily distinquished by flavor, texture or color. Especially in a seasoned dish.

Possibly half of the world's consumption of scallops, or possibly more, comes from frozen ones. If quick frozen on the ship, not frozen too long, and properly thawed, they are a reasonable substitute, and often economical. I find it difficult to see how a market for poorer quality 'skallop' exists. But then I can look at fast food chains and their redefinition of things like chicken. And I known in the food industry these days, nothing gets thrown away if it can be sold somehow.

All this talk about fish is making me hungry. Where can I get scrod?
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  #21  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:34 PM
storyguide3 storyguide3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Possible, but unlikely. Global scallop production (between aquaculture and wild-caught) comes to about 1.5 million tonnes, while global cod production comes to a little over 2.5 million tonnes (though it was once over 4 million).
However only a small amount of that cod tonnage would be cheeks.

ETA: ninja'd

Last edited by storyguide3; 05-27-2011 at 12:34 PM.. Reason: keyboarding too slow
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  #22  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:43 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Where can I get scrod?
There is a house, just across the tracks. Tell the woman who answers the door that I sent ya.
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  #23  
Old 05-27-2011, 12:50 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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There is a house, just across the tracks. Tell the woman who answers the door that I sent ya.
The traditional response is 'I've never heard anybody use the future pluperfect tense before'. Works better with prudish and overly intellectual types. At the other end of the scale I just say 'Ask <insert name of reputed slut>.
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  #24  
Old 05-27-2011, 01:33 PM
VernWinterbottom VernWinterbottom is offline
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I used to work for a print shop near New Bedford, MA, the scallop capital of the east coast and the highest dollar value fishing port in the US.

We printed labels for frozen Skate Wings for one company. We were told that there was a big market for them in Europe. The labels we printed clearrly indicated this was skate.

For other companies we printed scallop labels. Some labels indicated the scallops were soaked in a chemical solution (the initials of the chemical, I forget). The chemical would whiten and help preserve the scallops as well as cause them to absorb more water and, hence, weigh more. Other labels were for untreated scallops.

It seemed at least on the processor/wholesale level, what was sold was labeled truthfully.
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  #25  
Old 05-27-2011, 02:19 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
For the common size cod caught and sold now, you won't get many scallops from a cod's cheeks, even the little Bay Scallop size. But those cheeks are not getting sold at cod prices anyway (most cod is sold cleaned, skinned, filleted, and headless), so if you can get scallop prices for the meat, go for it, just don't mislabel it. I have a high level of expertise in seafood, so it would be hard to fool me about scallops, but there are many fish who's meats can't be easily distinquished by flavor, texture or color. Especially in a seasoned dish.

Possibly half of the world's consumption of scallops, or possibly more, comes from frozen ones. If quick frozen on the ship, not frozen too long, and properly thawed, they are a reasonable substitute, and often economical. I find it difficult to see how a market for poorer quality 'skallop' exists. But then I can look at fast food chains and their redefinition of things like chicken. And I known in the food industry these days, nothing gets thrown away if it can be sold somehow.

All this talk about fish is making me hungry. Where can I get scrod?
Those Chinese scallops (Trader Joes sells them) scare me. Much of the costal waters around China are polluted and contaminated (heavy metals, PCBs)-so a meal of Chinese scallops could be dangerous.
Is Chinese seafood safe, in your opinion?
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  #26  
Old 05-27-2011, 02:36 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Peter Benchley didn't INVENT the legend, I'm sure, but in his novel Jaws, Matt Hooper goes on a rant about how most seafood restaurants that claim to serve scallops are really serving a cheaper fish that's been cut into round pieces.

I'm sure that book did more to spread the idea than any other single source.
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  #27  
Old 05-27-2011, 02:58 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Those Chinese scallops (Trader Joes sells them) scare me. Much of the costal waters around China are polluted and contaminated (heavy metals, PCBs)-so a meal of Chinese scallops could be dangerous.
Is Chinese seafood safe, in your opinion?
A lot of it doesn't come from Chinese coastal waters. Atlantic coastal waters are also heavily polluted. It's always a risk with seafood, there's no guaranteed way to know where the fish was caught. So if you ask if Chinese seafood is safe, I can't tell you. The packaging company may be Chinese, but you may not know where the critters came from. I wouldn't not eat Chinese seafood just because a Chinese company packaged and shipped it. I've seen some pretty bad stuff come from the good ol' US of A too.
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  #28  
Old 05-27-2011, 03:01 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VernWinterbottom View Post
(snip)For other companies we printed scallop labels. Some labels indicated the scallops were soaked in a chemical solution (the initials of the chemical, I forget). The chemical would whiten and help preserve the scallops as well as cause them to absorb more water and, hence, weigh more. Other labels were for untreated scallops.

It seemed at least on the processor/wholesale level, what was sold was labeled truthfully.
That'd be sodium tripolyphosphate. It makes the scallops hold so much water it's hard to get them to caramelize in the pan. You end up with scallops swimming in water. Avoid them like the plague.
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  #29  
Old 05-27-2011, 03:03 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by astorian View Post
Peter Benchley didn't INVENT the legend, I'm sure, but in his novel Jaws, Matt Hooper goes on a rant about how most seafood restaurants that claim to serve scallops are really serving a cheaper fish that's been cut into round pieces.

I'm sure that book did more to spread the idea than any other single source.
Yeah, I think that was a meme that predates Jaws. I believe I first heard it as a child in the 60's on the show To Tell the Truth, where the mystery person was a NYC food inspector. Even if it wasn't in the movies, the book would have helped spread the story. It's funny, because seafood restaurants usually don't have skate wings lying around, and that's not the way seafood distributors tend to rip off their customers, at least not in my experience.
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  #30  
Old 05-27-2011, 03:40 PM
Turek Turek is offline
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Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
That'd be sodium tripolyphosphate. It makes the scallops hold so much water it's hard to get them to caramelize in the pan. You end up with scallops swimming in water. Avoid them like the plague.
aka STP (not the gas treatment).

Scallops that have been treated are known as "wet pack". Always try to get "dry pack" scallops if you can. They'll be pinker and firmer. (Thank you, Alton).
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  #31  
Old 05-27-2011, 03:49 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Heres a reference from 1971. It's probably safe to assume it it showed up in print in 1971, it was a circulating factoid for sometime previous.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 05-27-2011 at 03:50 PM..
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  #32  
Old 05-27-2011, 04:36 PM
Snake Plissken Snake Plissken is offline
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While I have never purchased them, I was told in culinary school (Johnson and Wales) that artificial scallops were actually cut from monkfish.
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  #33  
Old 05-27-2011, 04:50 PM
rat avatar rat avatar is offline
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From

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/c...atesReport.pdf


"Product forms:
Skates have a sweet, mild meat. Their “wings”, or flat modified dorsal segments, are the part
marketed for human consumption (NEFMC 2001). Skate wings may be marketed fresh or
frozen, skin-on or skinless. Only skates with a wingspan of 18” or more are sold as skate wings
(Avila 2002, as reported in Appendix I-A of NEFMC 2003).
Much skate is also marketed as baitfish (NEFMC 2003). Skates with a wingspan of less than
18”—called “dinner plates” by fishermen—are sold as bait, primarily to the East Coast lobster
fisheries. Bait skate may be sold fresh, frozen, or salted (NEFMC 2001).
There are ongoing reports that round pieces of skate wing, stamped out with a device like a
cookie cutter, are or have been offered for sale as scallops (Love 1996; Marco 2004). The sweet
meat of skates might be a culinary substitute for scallops, but the extent of this practice remains
unknown. New techniques for the genetic analysis of seafood may reveal the extent, if any, of
this rumored practice (Marco 2004)."
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