In the UK, only a certain species of scallop can be legally sold as Queen Scallop — those having the scientific name of Chlamys opercularis (aka Queenie) aka Aequipecten opercularis aka Aequipecten audouini.
Queen Scallops can be found in the Irish Sea, English Channel and the North Sea. They are also found in the waters off Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Russia, and down to the Azores and into the western parts of the Mediterranean.
They are just about round, with the noted exception of the two hinges at the back. Both the top and bottom shells are rounded and cream-coloured. The adductor muscle size is approximately 1 ¼ inches (3 cm), and is creamy-white in colour. The roe (aka coral) is orange.
They are mostly farmed now. When farmed, it is easier to control the age at which scallop is harvested, ideally 1 ½ to 2 years old. Farming is done in nets, with harvesting done by divers. Farming of the scallops in Scotland started in 1974.
Queen Scallops in the UK are sold either live in the shell, or shucked on the half shell.
Most Scallops sold in the UK are either Queen Scallops or King Scallops (“Pecten maximus.”) On the Isle of Man, Queen Scallops are fished for all year. King Scallop fishing is only allowed from 1 November to 31 May.
In the UK, Princess Scallops are a younger version of Queen Scallops. The meat chunk will be about ½ inch (1 cm) wide. The shell is reddish-pink, and the muscle is creamy-white. They are harvested from farms when about 1 year old. There is often no roe because roe only develops with age.
Both Queen and Princess can be bought smoked.
Allow 6 Queen Scallops as a starter; 8 to 10 as part of a main course.
As a breakfast dish, try frying up small scallops with bacon, then making an open-faced sandwich of them by serving the bacon and scallops with scrambled egg on toast.