A scallop (pronounced /ˈskɒləp/ or /ˈskæləp/) is a marine bivalve mollusc of the family Pectinidae. Scallops are a cosmopolitan family, found in all of the world's oceans. Many scallops are highly prized as a food source. The brightly-colored, fan-shaped shells of some scallops with their radiating fluted pattern are valued by shell collectors.
The name "scallop" is derived from the Old French escalope, which means "shell".
Scallops are a popular type of shellfish in both Eastern and Western cooking. They are characterized by having two types of meat in one shell: the adductor muscle, called "scallop" which is white and meaty, and the roe, called "coral", which is red or white and soft.
In Western cuisine, scallops are commonly sautéed in butter, or else breaded and deep fried. Scallops are commonly paired with light semi-dry white wines. In the U.S., when a scallop is prepared, usually only the adductor muscle is used; the other parts of the scallop surrounding the muscle are ordinarily discarded. Sometimes markets sell scallops already prepared in the shell with only the adductor muscle intact. Outside the U.S. the scallop is often sold whole.
Scallops that are without any additives are called "dry packed" while scallops that are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) are called "wet packed". STP causes the scallops to absorb moisture prior to the freezing process, thereby getting a better price per unit of weight. The freezing process takes about two days.