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Collops are small slices of meat. They may be thick or thin.

Often the meat is pounded first to make it flat.

The meat is usually cooked and served in this form.

Nowadays, the word 'collops' is applied to everything from aubergine (eggplant) to monkfish.

Scotched Collops (aka Scotch Collops)

Collops of beef or veal that are stewed.

History Notes

At various times since the 1500s, 'Collop' in English has been used to mean either thick slices of meat -- or thin slices of meat. In any event, it has generally meant smallish slices, as opposed to huge slabs.

In the 1500s, it meant primarily a rasher (a slice) of bacon. During these Elizabethan times, sugar was extremely expensive; a huge luxury. Hosts would want to show off various sugar creations. One of the favourite food items to amaze guests with were "collops of bacon", made from ground almonds and sugar.

Later, the word came to be applied to other types of meat, and now can be beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal or venison.

At a later point, Collop even became confused with the verb to "scollop" ("scallop"), which might lead you to ponder a connection with the name of scalloped potatoes, which are sliced. Hannah Glasse (1708-1770) in "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" (1747) lists a recipe for "Collups of Oysters", which is oysters cooked in scallop shells. This may show the start of the confusion between the word "scollops" (as it was then spelt) and "collops."

Literature & Lore

Ash Wednesday was preceded not just by Shrove Tuesday, but also by Collop Monday before that -- the last day to eat cook meat before Lent. Collops are also served on Robbie Burns birthday.

"Two of the company, who were dressed in the weather-stained green doublet of foresters, lifted the big pot off the fire, and a third, with a huge pewter ladle, served out a portion of steaming collops to each guest." From "The White Company", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"SCOTS COLLOPS: Cut any piece of tender lean beef into slices; beat them; brown some butter and flour in a sauce-pan; put in the beef, with some salt, pepper, and a finely-minced onion – half a minced apple is an improvement; add a little hot water; cover the pan closely, and let them stew till tender." -- Catherine Emily Callbeck Dalgairns. The Practice of Cookery: Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life (8th edition). Edinburgh: Robert Cadell. 1840.

Language Notes

Collop is the English equivalent of the French word, escalope.

See also:

Technical Terms

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Oulton, Randal. "Collops." CooksInfo.com. Published 16 August 2004; revised 18 February 2011. Web. Accessed 03/20/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/collops>.

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