Amusium pleuronectes – the Asian moon scallop
The Asian moon scallop, or sun and moon scallop, is a species of marine bivalve mollusk of the genus Amusium in the family Pectinidae. The sauce scallop has a shape that is a bit similar to a scallop (Mimachlamys nobilis) but its shells are smooth and shiny and have no grooves. Amusium pleuronectes is also very similar to the Ylistrum japonicum, but the former is flatter.
- Family: Pectinidae
- Genus: Amusium
- Binomial name: Amusium pleuronectes
- English name: Asian moon scallop, sun and moon scallop
- Vietnamese name: điềm điệp, bồ điệp, điệp láng, sò điệp láng or simply điệp
In Vietnam, Amusium pleuronectes is known as điềm điệp, bồ điệp, sò điệp láng, or simply điệp. The sauce scallops are harvested in Quảng Yên (Quảng Ninh province) in north Vietnam, and several central coastal provinces.
Saucer scallops are harvested mainly for their meat or more precisely the adductor muscle. The adductor muscle is the most delicious and precious part of the saucer scallop. It is ivory white, not chewy and good for health. The nacre (mother of pearl) of the Asian moon scallop is also used as an ingredient for Vietnamese nacre arts.
Live saucer scallops can also found in local seafood restaurants.
The Vietnamese cooking method is similar to other bivalve mollusk species. At the seafood restaurants, Asian moon scallops are often boiled or grilled.
For Asian moon scallop boil, moon scallops need to be cleaned, and then get cooked in a pot of very hot water with a few crushed lemongrass stalks. In Vietnam, the dish is often served in a clay pot. The best way to enjoy the scallops is to use a spoon to scoop a small amount of a condiment made of salt, pepper, and lime juice, and then put it on the scallop meat, and slightly scoop out the meat with the spoon.
For Asian moon scallop grill, moon scallops can be grilled with spring onion lard/oil (called mỡ hành in Vietnamese), or with cheese. Spring onion lard can be prepared by melting some lard and sauteing chopped spring onion leaves. In Quảng Bình province,moon scallops are grilled with dried shallots and chopped Vietnamese coriander (rau răm).
In Phú Yên province, Asian moon scallops can be used to cook mixed vegetable scallop soup. Mixed vegtables may include: vine spinach leaves, ivy gourd leaves, star gooseberry leaves… Just sautee the moon scallop meat, then add water and bring to a boil. Finally, add all the vegetables and bring to a boil again.
A few other cooking “variations” include: Asian moon scallops grilled with salt and pepper, saucer scallops stir-fried with pineapple, cucumbers or Tonkin jasmine flowers… To make those stir fry dishes, only the the adductor muscles are used.