Try small scallops or shrimp in shellfish saute

For every pound of wild-caught fish and shellfish, there’s at least 10 pounds of farm-raised “seafood” in local grocery stores.

Since I’ve blogged about avoiding any and all farm-raised shrimp, almost without exception hailing from Asia, I’ve seen several developments locally on the sustainable seafood front. It’s a bright spot in a bleak landscape of foreign aquaculture that often abuses the environment, and even human rights, to feed the global appetite for cheap popcorn shrimp and scampi.

Wild-caught Texas Gulf shrimp have been on the shelves at Food 4 Less in Medford for several years, but the brand I’ve purchased packages its large shrimp whole, meaning they must be peeled and deveined, which adds a good 15 to 20 minutes to mealtime prep for about a pound of shellfish.

And then … oh, joy! I spied a much smaller (110/130) crustacean, also wild-caught in the Gulf, offered by the same company, but peeled and deveined. Those I can simply defrost for a few hours before tossing into a coconut-milk curry, a white-wine sauce for pasta, even a Christmas Eve seafood stew, where they take just a couple of minutes to cook through.

Cheered by such effortless preparation of something so delicious, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for convenient, local availability of “bay scallops,” another sustainable seafood, provided it isn’t treated with trisodium phosphate, a preservative that keeps food from caramelizing. Rinsing doesn’t remove this chemical solution.

Until then, the shrimp I’ve been enjoying so much would be a fitting substitute for the scallops in this recipe from the Chicago Tribune. Even better with Oregon’s wild Pacific pink shrimp, usually available fresh April through October.

Tribune News Service photo

Lemon-Garlic Scallops With Almonds

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 2 peeled and chopped garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Stir in 5 ounces slivered almonds; cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl; mix in finely grated zest of 1 lemon.

Heat skillet over high heat; add 1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry. Brown on 1 side, for about 2 minutes. Stir in nut mixture and juice of 1 lemon; cook for 1 minute. Season with salt. Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.

Serve over steamed rice. Makes 4 servings.

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