About the Authors
“When I meet someone for the first time they say─ ‘Oh, you’re a marine biologist—what an exciting field!’ This often conjures up images of famous biologist Jacques Cousteau and his adventures on the ‘Calypso’ and his underwater dives in tropical locales studying exotic marine life. However, I have chosen a path that is not as fascinating, but equally important ─working with the ‘lowly’ mollusks.”
My love of the sea originated with fond memories of Dennisport, Massachusetts, summers by the sea and a year frolicking in the tidal pools of Bronte Beach in Sydney, Australia these memories are poignant. The culmination of these experiences ushered me into graduate studies at the University of Rhode Island which eventually led to my involvement in the Bay Scallop Restoration Project (BSRP) in Westport, Massachusetts. The BSRP began in 1993 by Wayne Turner to restore the highly prized bay scallop and to promote public interest in water quality problems in the Westport River. The BSRP used aquaculture techniques (artificial spat collectors and spawning sanctuaries) to enhance bay scallops and a mascot “Seemore Scallop,” to attract the attention of the public.
Having emphasized the four E’s: Education, Economics, Enthusiasm, and Environment to rouse community support, the BSRP used a grassroots philosophy. They began to realize that shellfish restoration was also about the four C’s: Community, Cooperation, Coordination, and Commitment. Using the estuary for learning and the shellfish within the bay as the catalyst for motivation, students from the elementary, middle and high schools were introduced to important economic and scientific concepts.
The BSRP engaged hundreds of students and volunteers from the towns of Dartmouth and Westport, Massachusetts and beyond; winning many awards including the “Excellence in Environmental Education,” by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although successful, more work is still needed in all of our estuaries in America, especially with stock enhancement from hatchery raised seed. The BSRP lasted many years and included a banner harvest in 1996—so we started collecting scallop recipes, which became the springboard for Scallops: A New England Coastal Cookbook. We included information about the sea scallop industry and found that people were equally excited about sea scallops; especially, cooking up the “big guys!”
As a fisheries biologist, I am very excited to see the “Bust to Boom” recovery of our sea scallop fishery in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The sea scallopers and their families, scientists, and resource managers are equally committed to this incredibly valuable resource situated right here in New England. This industry is extremely valuable to the local economy, but also nationally as well since New Bedford ranked first for the 10th year in a row as the most valuable fishing port in the U.S. based on revenues. After reading our cookbook, I hope consumers will gain a greater appreciation for the hardships and risks that the sea scallop fishery endures, so we can have scallops on our table.
My love of scallops has not waned; as I am presently manage the Luther H. Blount Shellfish hatchery at Roger Williams University. Aside from producing bay scallops and quahogs, I have been researching ways to restore oysters to Narragansett Bay and managing the Blount Oyster Nursery located in Jenny's Creek on Prudence Island. I use sea scallop shells for oyster settlement, thus recycling shells into a new bivalve biomass—oysters! Also, my research with this charismatic shellfish has transcended into a passion for collecting shells, jewelry making, and artwork—all related to scallops. We hope you will enjoy these recipes, and the informative nature of the cookbook.
“My interest in this project began as a simple request to borrow some scallop recipes from various people associated with the Westport community. Other friends and family members who enjoy eating scallops became interested in this project and the recipes continued pouring in. Then I had to buy a laptop to make life easier. Next was the arduous task of testing all the scallop recipes.”
Friends and family were recruited and recipes were assigned. One tester stated that her
husband was “scalloped out” from eating so many scallops. The cookbook was pieced together
into sections with comments under each recipe. This project then evolved into a more elaborate
cookbook containing interviews with scallopers, chefs, seafood market owners, scientists and
farm market owners, made into sidebars. We also asked each scalloper and person interviewed
for a scallop recipe or method.
Not sure we were heading down the right path; we contacted Julia Child, one of our Womens' Fisheries Network (WFN) members for her advice. She said, “Thanks so much for your letter regarding scallops. It is wonderful that you are writing a cookbook devoted to them, and I wish you great success with it.” In another letter she said, “I think you need to get yourself known. Have you done any articles for magazines? I think it’s essential at the beginning to get your name known in any possible way. You have done a wonderful bit of research and it should be known, it’s just a matter of getting it to the right people.”
At her suggestion, we wrote an informational article “Diverse Scallops” for Food Arts, March 2001. For this magazine article we interviewed many Boston celebrity chefs: Jody Adams, Barbara Lynch, Chris Schlesinger, Ming Tsai and others. We have also written an article, “Truffles of the Sea,” for Coastal Living, Nov/Dec 2004 which contain several of our scallop recipes.
I am also a member of the Cape Cod Writer’s Center, Sandwich Writers’ Group, Sandwich Beach Committee, The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Thornton Burgess Society, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and the Book Club at the Sandwich Library.
When I am out of the kitchen, I am at the sea—beaching, swimming and reading mysteries, cookbooks, and best sellers. I also have mysteries in both of the Sandwich Writers’ Group anthologies, This Side of the Bridge and Adrift, as well as a memoir in Cape Cod View magazine, September 2009, entitled, “The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer.”
This is not just a cookbook, but also a way of interacting with people I have interviewed over ten years. It has been an educational and enjoyable journey meeting and talking to everyone involved. At Aunt Lydia’s Cove in Chatham, which is one of the prime fishing ports for dayboat scallops on Cape Cod, I interviewed dayboat scalloper, Capt. Andrew Spalt. His scallop vessel was named, Ciano, and he cheerfully answered my questions about sea scallops. I left with many sea scallop shells as well as his recipe for a scallop barbecue. I also learned to shuck bay scallops and eat them raw with shuckers, Bubs Compinaha and Ginny Nelson at Cotuit Fish Market, Cotuit, Massachusetts.