Can You Eat Raw Scallops? A Definitive Explainer

The day I joined Alex Todd on his scalloping boat out of Portland, Maine, I missed a key memo: Bring lunch. Alex is a day-boat scallop fisherman, which means he drags for scallops only in the short winter season, leaving at dawn and staying at sea unti…

The day I joined Alex Todd on his scalloping boat out of Portland, Maine, I missed a key memo: Bring lunch. Alex is a day-boat scallop fisherman, which means he drags for scallops only in the short winter season, leaving at dawn and staying at sea until he’s filled his 15-gallon quota, which that day took 12 hours. Alex’s generosity saved me. While he and his crew ate prepacked sandwiches, I lunched on his scallops, untouched, shucked from their shells minutes before. The answer to can you eat raw scallops is emphatically, 100 percent yes.

Raw scallops are not just edible; they’re incredible. The scallop’s natural sweetness is never on display so clearly as before it’s cooked. And uses for raw scallops are endless: carpaccio, crudo, tartare, sushi, or, as on that day, just popped in your mouth like candy. The one catch: To go raw, you need to choose your scallops carefully. What you find behind most supermarket seafood counters won’t live up to my lunch at sea.

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