Swimming Scallops Recipe Round-Up!

Allison Hepworth - January 20, 2022

Melissa and Joel fish for two species of wild BC scallops: pink and spiny, (commonly known as “swimming scallops”) and they are quite different from farmed bay scallops or sea scallops you might be used to seeing! Contrary to most scallops that must be shucked, these pink and spiny scallops can be eaten whole, just like you would treat a mussel or clam. They have a delicious, nutty, clam-like flavour, briny like an oyster, and less sweet than a farmed bay scallop. They’re a special BC delicacy, and Joel’s family has been fishing them for generations! Because Melissa and Joel’s scallops are so versatile and unique, we’ve come across all kinds of recipes over the years. Here are a couple standouts from Skipper Otto members and staff, and from Melissa and Joel themselves!

  1. Pink and spiny scallops in a creamy tomato fennel pho broth
  2. Scallops steamed with vermicelli
  3. Scallops steamed in beer
  4. BBQ’d scallops with white wine mignonette
  5. Plus more recipes from Melissa and Joel!


Wild Pink & Spiny Scallops in a Creamy Tomato Fennel Pho Broth with Smoked Albacore Tuna & Black Oyster Mushrooms

This recipe was recently sent to us by Mike Levitt, a Skipper Otto member in Vancouver. In Mike’s words, “wow, wow, wow! Those Scallops are simply fantastic! I think this might be my best meal I’ve made with the fish.” Here is the recipe that he kindly wrote up for us!

Servings: two as a main or three/four as an appetizer


  • ½ box Skipper Otto Scallops
  • ½ can Skipper Otto Smoked Albacore Tuna (flaked)
  • 900 ml Pho Broth (I used a tetra Pak of Campbells)
  • 1 Shallot (finely chopped)
  • 5 Baby Carrots (sliced into small rounds) or 1 Carrot (cleaned & medium chop)
  • 1 large Garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 inch fresh Ginger (cleaned and grated – large holes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fennel (chop same size as the carrots or slice the fennel ‘arms’)
  • 30 g of Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste (I use the concentrated Italian in a tube)
  • A handful of Black Oyster Mushrooms (wiped clean and shredded by hand)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

The how to do it:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Once butter melted, gently fry onions, carrots, and fennel until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and fry for about a minute – do not brown.
  4. Add tomato paste and blend in well with the other ingredients.
  5. Cook for about a minute to incorporate the tomato paste well.
  6. Add the mushrooms (can use any exotic mushroom instead of oyster).
  7. Then add the Pho Broth.
  8. Once the broth is at a nice bubbling boil, add the frozen scallops and they will start opening after 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Remove about ½ cup of the broth and mix the sour cream into the cup.
  10. Once well mixed, add back into the broth, mix, and gently simmer for another minute.
  11. Prior to serving, mix the flaked tuna into the broth.
  12. Once dished into bowls, garnish with the fennel fronds.

A few remarks:

  • The recipe may look complicated, but it is not – just a little prep work!
  • If preferred, the sour cream can be omitted.
  • I use only sustainably caught fish, and wherever possible, the other ingredients are organic.
  • It is worth spending a little more on good quality tomato paste.
  • Thanks to Tianna Barton of Skipper Otto who inspired the idea of adding the tuna.

Most importantly, enjoy!


Steamed Swimming Scallops with Vermicelli

This photo was sent to us from our member, Annie, who adapted the recipe from China Sichuan Food. Preparation is a little more labourious since the scallops need to be shucked, but we promise each mouthful is well worth it… Annie’s photo speaks for itself! Instead of making the garlic oil, you can always use some chili oil if you’ve got some on hand.


  • 12 pink and spiny scallops
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 small bunch of bean vermicelli (around 30g)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chili pepper
  • 2 spring onions, white and green parts separated and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, add 1 cup of boiling water and soak the vermicelli until soft.
  2. To shuck your scallops, remove scallops from shells. Pop them open with a butter knife, clean the shell, wash and clean the scallop leaving just the white meat or “adductor”. Discard half the shells.
  3. Put the scallop meat in a mid-sized bowl with the cooking wine. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour a few inches of water into a large pot and set up your steamer. Arrange your remaining shells on the steamer, and place a forkful of vermicelli onto each shell. Place the scallop meat on top of the vermicelli. Don’t turn on the heat just yet!
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, and saute garlic until fragrant. Add the white portion of the green onions and stir fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add soy sauce, salt, and sesame oil.
  6. Spoon the garlicky oil on top of the scallops along with the chopped chili pepper.
  7. With all the scallops ready to go, now turn on your heat! Steam for 8 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and garnish with green onions.


Scallops Steamed in Beer

swimming scallops steamed in beer

Our COO, Chris, put together this recipe last spring during his stint of cooking at home! It’s super simple, uses ingredients that you probably already have at home, and comes together in minutes!

Serves 2.


  • 2 lbs pink and spiny scallops (1 box)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • butter
  • 1 can/bottle of your favourite beer (IPA, lager or pilsner)
  • parsley
  • 2 cut up slices of raw bacon or stick of pepperoni (optional)
  • chili flakes
  1. Sauté a sliced onion and garlic and bacon/pepperoni (if using) in butter in a pot (make sure you have a lid for it). ⠀
  2. Add beer (however much you like, make sure to taste before hand to ensure it is fresh and cold!) and chili flakes to the pot and heat up.⠀
  3. Add scallops straight out of the freezer – about 1lb per person (if you’re eating them as a main dish). A box of Skipper Otto scallops is 2lbs.⠀
  4. Cover the pot with the lid and cook about 5 minutes until the scallops open.⠀
  5. Add diced parsley to pot. Stir and serve contents of pot in a large bowl – shells and broth all together.
  6. Serve with some crusty bread.⠀
  7. Eat the whole scallop right out of the shell and enjoy!


BBQ’d Swimming Scallops with White Wine Mignonette

Swimming Scallops on BBQ

This one comes from our friend Emily @seasidewithemily who’s developed a love for Melissa and Joel’s pink and spiny scallops through her years of being a Skipper Otto member!

Making swimming scallops on the BBQ is easy. I put them directly on the grill, right from frozen. When the shells pop open, they’re ready! You can also keep them on for longer if you prefer a different consistency. Try taking a couple scallops off at different times to determine what you like best. 

You can eat them straight off the grill, which I often do, or you can top them with a mignonette. This is the recipe I use: 

  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine 
  • 1/2 of a diced shallot 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 1 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • fresh parsley to top


More Recipes on Melissa and Joel’s website!

Melissa and Joel Collier also have a ton of delicious recipes on their website from years of collaborating with chefs and scallop lovers. From chowders to scallop crudo, they’ve come up with all kinds of delicious, easy recipes! Find them here!

Of course, once you’re done eating your scallops, you can do a little DIY project like our member David in Victoria did… Talk about boat to fork, to art!

Allison Hepworth - January 20, 2022

Back to blog

Swimming Scallops Recipe Round-Up!

Allison Hepworth - January 20, 2022

Pledge your support and become a member to enjoy the freshest fish in BC!

Sign up now