A scalloping good time

Right now scallops are at their finest – a fact that’s celebrated during Rye Bay Scallop Week. If you ever needed a reason to visit the East Sussex harbour town, it’s surely this tasty mollusc.

rye bay scallops

There are many scallop-centred activities, tastings and opportunities to see just how beautiful and delicious these shellfish really are. Once you’ve eaten one fresh from Rye Bay you’ll never touch their frozen cousins again.

rye bay scallop – the royal oak, brookland

I’ve always been fascinated by scallops – and I’ve spent a good deal of time photographing them for the likes of local restaurateur Paul Webbe (he runs several excellent scallop workshops).

rye bay scallops – webbe’s cookery school

Paul is passionate about scallops and likes to show just how versatile they are to work with (try them raw, dipped in curry powder…). Recently I’ve been in the kitchen of famed French chef Pierre Koffmann whose signature dish is scallops in squid ink sauce.

scallops with squid ink

I’ve also worked with several local pubs and restaurants who like to make the most of what Rye bay offers up in plentiful supply. And who can blame them? Scallops not only taste sublime (just don’t over cook them!) but look simply stunning on the plate.

scallops in shells – the royal oak, brookland

Served on the shell or off, with or without the coral, pan seared and plated in a variety of temptingly different ways, they’ve long been one of my favourite foods to photograph.

scallops & black pudding – the plough, stalisfield

Even BBC Lonely Planet has picked up on my work – I’m delighted that they’ve chosen a couple of scallop images to feature in one of their latest guides.

simple scallops – globe and rainbow, cranbrook

Sustainable fishing is something we should all support. Many people don’t understand that there’s a season for scallops (or at least there should be). The Rye season ends in March – enjoy them while you can. Soon we’ll have Spring lamb, asparagus and fresh greens on our table. So then it will be time to leave the scallops alone for a bit.

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