Omelet with Nantucket Bay Scallops and Peas

When they are in season, Nantucket Bay Scallops are a treasure from our New England waters.

If you are lucky enough to travel to Nantucket Island, Mass., from November to March, plan to dine at one of the fabulous seafood restaurants and look for their bay scallop dishes. You won’t be disappointed.

The best in the world

I look forward to the season of our local New England bay scallops, particularly Cape Cod or Nantuckets, because they are the best in the world, and I’m not saying that just because I’m a New Englander! They are in season November through March, but every year is different depending on how the winter and the supply are going. They are sweet and tender, melt-in-your-mouth delicious with full flavor that is unforgettable. The cold, waters around Nantucket have been protected since the 1800s, and there is a great variation in flavor depending on where they are harvested, but they are all exquisite!

You won’t find these in the fish counter at the supermarket, and unless you’re on the island, you will need to pay a visit to your local fish market in season, or order them online –– there are quite a few good sources that will get them to you overnight, well-packed in ice. In fact, if you find bay scallops at the grocery store, I’ll guarantee they are from China, so check. Foreign scallops will also be smaller in size than a true New England bay.

In a pinch, you can freeze them for a month or so, but they are best enjoyed fresh when in season and left to memory the rest of the year.

Know the source! If your fish counter doesn’t let you know where the bay scallops are from, ask!

As anything so exquisite is apt to be, they are pricy, yes, but what a treat they are. We usually try to find them for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, or a special brunch with friends during the season.

A reasonable substitution

Alas, if you cannot find New England bay scallops, use natural “dry” wild sea scallops that have not been soaked in preservatives. Ask, and use your nose. A dry scallop will have a lovely aroma of the sea, it will smell exactly how scallops taste. A preserved scallop will have no aroma or flavor because it gets lost in the watery, preservative solution, and they are not worth any price! For this recipe, just cut the larger natural sea scallops into fourths, and please avoid anything imported.*

The incredible omelet

To stretch these gems, put them in an omelet! Of course, use the best eggs you can find. Organic from a local farm is best; they are fresher, tastier, and most likely been raised without cruelty. Know your farmer if you can!

You can fill an omelet with anything you love from fresh creations to leftover casseroles! One of our favorite egg dishes is a simple omelet featuring exquisite bay scallops from local waters. And even those watching their cholesterol can enjoy by using just the egg whites, which is how I made them this year because of our family’s need to cut back on saturated fat. I added a bit of hot sauce to lend the eggs a slightly yellow color so the visual matched the flavor.

The friends that never meet in person

Since fresh peas and Nantuckets will never be in season at the same time, I’m using frozen local peas for this dish. Frozen peas are a miracle to me!

Watch your heat when cooking these, your pan should be hot, but not smoking. Personally, I do not like much color on an omelet, and too much heat will dry them out and toughen! I like them soft and tender so that the egg flavor can shine through and not the taste of scorch, but if you prefer a browned omelet, make it your way.

These are the ingredients you will need per omelet, expand accordingly. Although I make all filling ingredients in one batch, I mix up each omelet separately.

 Omelet with Nantucket Bay Scallops and Peas

 For each omelet:

Thaw your peas and chop your shallots. Pat the scallops dry, and remove any large side muscles. Lightly dust with flour. You can stuff as many scallops as you want in the omelet, or be a little frugal! A pound of scallops can easily make six generous omelets.

  • 2 large eggs or 3 egg whites per serving
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter or plant butter
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 lb., about 12-15 fat domestic bay, whole, or 3 large dry sea scallops, quartered
  • 1/2 minced shallot
  • 1/2 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk, light, or light cream
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Over medium high, heat the olive oil and butter until foaming and add the scallops in a single layer. Add scallops to the pan and cook for about two minutes, not touching them, you’ll want them to brown and form a crust. Turn and cook another minute. This doesn’t take long; the scallops should remain slightly opaque in the center. Err on the side of under; they will continue to cook in this dish, and you absolutely don’t want to go over. The poor cook will just have to test one to ensure perfect timing! Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

In the same pan, add a bit more oil and sauté the shallot just until tender, then add the garlic and deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the paprika and simmer until the wine has reduced to the point where you can leave a trail across the pan with your wooden spoon, there won’t be much left. Add the coconut milk and simmer for a minute or two, then toss in the peas and the scallops, taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and keep warm while you make the omelets.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, a little salt and pepper and mix well. Heat an 8-inch, non-stick omelet pan over medium and add some butter. It should sizzle, and then quiet. Once quiet, pour in the eggs and let set for about 10 seconds or so. Gently move and lift eggs from outer edges of the pan, letting the egg run under. Use a light hand with this. I keep the heat around medium, but lift the eggs off the burner if I feel they are cooking too fast, and I keep the pan moving.

This is a quick process. When eggs are nearly cooked but still soft on the top, remove from burner, add the scallop mixture down the middle of the omelet, reserving a bit of the sauce and a few scallops for serving. Gently fold one side of the omelet over the center (the side opposite the side you will be slipping onto the plate).

To serve, run a spatula around the edge of the omelet, bring to the plate and gently slide about halfway off. Then flip the bulk of the omelet over the first. Top with the reserved sauce, a little more pepper,  and fresh parsley.

Serve this egg dish with chopped tomatoes and a simple salad of parsley and arugula, dressed sparingly with a bit of sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt.

Variations: 

If you don’t eat seafood or are looking for a vegetarian variation, you can make this with mushrooms and peas. It will still be delicious. You can also make this with crab, or any other shellfish, or a mix.

Health watch:   

Always ask your seafood’s country of origin. Don’t even think about using bay scallops raised in China, the Philippines, etc.; these farm-raised pencil erasers have no flavor and absolutely no resemblance to the original, and, more importantly, have had chronic problems in the past with health and safety concerns serious enough to be banned in many countries. Beware, they are often “processed” in countries other than where they originate, so to be on the safe side, stick with US certified, or certified in whatever country you reside.

A Cape Cod beach filled with shells of many types, including beautiful bay scallops.

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61 Comments Add yours

  1. Uuuuh … jealous, I am just so jealous. I adore scallops. But Nantucket is far away, boohoo.

    1. One of the most perfect seafood treats! I’ll toast to you next time I have them!

  2. Julia says:

    This sounds amazing! I had never thought of using scallops in an omelet.

    1. I had a beautiful scallop omelet on Nantucket many years ago and it became one of my all-time favorite dishes! They used Swiss cheese, which I also recommend, and it was indeed memorable.

  3. nancyc says:

    This sounds like a wonderful omelet! Love your last photo of the sea shells—I love to look for shells on the beach! 🙂

    1. Thanks Nancy. My husband and went for a walk on a beach on Cape Cod one April after a storm. There were more shells than I have ever seen! Luck of the tides I’m sure.

  4. Sheree says:

    Bay Scallops look worth the trip

    1. They are worth the trip that’s for sure! Memorable.

      1. Sheree says:

        😎

  5. What a delightful combination!

    1. Thank you! It really is a great combination.

  6. capost2k says:

    You can stay in our guest room for free . . . IF you bring a couple pounds of these scallops! My favorite seafood, bar none! 😉

    1. You got a deal! My absolute favorite as well!

  7. Bay scallops – now, we’re talking New England wicked good. 🙂

  8. Fabulous! How I would love some of this right now… 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit! One of my all time favorite dishes!

    2. You’re invited the next time!

      1. Thank you! 🙂

  9. Carolyn Page says:

    Would never have thought to add scallops to an omelet, Dorothy. That’s why you write the recipe and we follow!!!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! One bite and you’ll be a fan!

    1. Thank you! Our family loves this one that’s for sure.

  10. BERNADETTE says:

    Dorothy this is such a unique recipe. Thank you for creating it and giving us the guide to purchasing scallops.

    1. Thanks Bernie! It is one of my absolute favorite meals, and the peas came about quite by accident because I had some in the refrigerator that I had thawed for another recipe. I make this with peas always now!

  11. Gail says:

    Talk about being special. Scallops all to myself! 😜🍃

    1. I would eat them on a boat, I would eat them with a goat, I would eat them in the rain…

      1. Gail says:

        …I would eat them on a train. 😜🎶👏

      2. I guess we’d eat them ANYWHERE!

  12. trkingmomoe says:

    I love scallops. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. They are a delicious ingredient I agree! One of my favorites.

  13. You are SO lucky to have access to these scallops. What a fabulous omelet Dorothy!

    1. I know how fortunate I am Diane. We New Englanders are spoiled indeed, but still quite grateful.

  14. Sherry M says:

    yum sounds delish. hubby doesn’t eat seafood but he does like scallops. yay!

    1. Thank you! Great for you that your husband likes scallops! I guess if you can eat one seafood, scallops are a great one.

  15. I love scallops and know from experience how bland some can be, thank you for explaining why and how to make sure they come from the right place!
    Jenna

    1. You’re welcome! I’ve been burned in the past, some are even labeled “all natural” but I guess there is no standard for what that means!

      1. Rehoboth says:

        Most welcome 🙏

  16. Rehoboth says:

    Nice article

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Peas are magic for me too! I simply love them 😋😋 What a great dish Dorothy!

    1. Thank you so much Ribana! The peas really make this unique.

  18. CarolCooks2 says:

    I have not thought of making a scallop omelette it sounds delicious as do your scallops…We get natural Hokkaido King Scallopswhich come from Japan but how they compare to yours I have no idea all I know is that they are dry and not soaked…

    1. Mouth watering 😋

      1. It’s sooo good!

      2. Rehoboth says:

        😀😀😀

    2. Then I’m sure they would be prefect in this dish Carol! Enjoy!

  19. Ally Bean says:

    I’ve never thought about putting scallops in an omelet. Interesting idea. Thanks.

    1. It isn’t far my favorite omelet ingredient. Hope you try it some time!

    2. Rehoboth says:

      I will try this today

  20. terrie gura says:

    What a lovely way to enjoy these once-a-year treats! I don’t think I noticed in your post, Dorothy, what time for brunch? 😉

    And thank you for sounding the alarm about imported scallops. In addition to lesser quality products, many of those operations are also fraught with poor working conditions and human rights violations. Better all the way around to support your local purveyors!

    1. You’re so right Terrie. Prison and child labor, as well as contamination issues. For many years, imports of scallops from China was prohibited, but they’ve made their way back to our supermarkets, and not without some continued contamination problems.

  21. Nancy says:

    I find this to be the perfect Brunch Meal! I never thought about scallops with an omelet! Mmmmm! Mmmmmm!
    Thank you Dorothy!

    1. It is my favorite brunch meal with the exception of my crab cakes Benedict! There’s something wonderful about the scallops wrapped in the tender egg. So good!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  22. Very creative dish with some wonderful ingredients

    1. Thank you Jovina! The ingredients are amazing so it has to be good!

  23. Rekha Unni says:

    Looks delicious 😋😋

    1. Thank you Rekha, it is one of our favorites!

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