Mollusc Texture

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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The adductor muscles largely determine the texture of several bivalves—especially the scallop, whose large and tender “swimming” muscle is often the only portion served. The other bivalve bodies are eaten whole, and include one or two adductors together with miscellaneous innards; small tubes and thin sheets of muscle and connective tissue; soft masses of eggs, sperm, and food particles; and a general proteinaceous mucus that lubricates and binds food particles. Clams, mussels, and oysters are thus slick and both crunchy and tender when raw, chewy when cooked. The greater the proportion of muscle tissue, the chewier the mollusc.