Aomori is one of the largest producers of sea scallops, or hotate. Mutsu Bay, surrounded by the Shimokita and Tsugaru peninsulas, is a major source of sea scallops. Mineral-rich water from the surrounding mountains pour into Mutsu Bay, which is rich in phytoplankton, the primary source of food for sea scallops. Thanks to the rich food source, the sea scallops in Mutsu Bay are raised in near-natural conditions.The cold calm waters in the northern region make it perfect for the cultivating of cold-water bivalve scallops.
Aomori hotate stands out for its umami and sweet flavor, as well as the thick adductor muscle (the edible portion of the scallop). A versatile ingredient, it is suited to be served as sashimi, fried, sauteed, or boiled. Therefore, it is used in all cuisines, including that of Japan, China, and the West.
Miso seasoned sea scallops mixed with eggs and served in a large scallop shell is a traditional country-style dish of Aomori prefecture.
Sea scallops are high in protein and low in fat. They contain high levels of vitamin B12 and taurine, both effective in relieving fatigue.
Because they spoil quickly, fishery associations and prefectural research institutions collaborated to develop a packaging method to elongate the life of fresh sea scallops. The packaging technology developed was named “Oxy Genki,” which utilizes oxygen to maintain freshness. Aomori sea scallops with “Oxy Genki” packaging are now available nationwide.
Hotate Artisanal Products
Sea scallops from Aomori, one of the major producing prefectures, are highly valued for their smooth flavor with umami and sweetness.
Hotate is not only eaten as sashimi, but also made into products such as dried conpoy, canned hotate, steamed hotate, salted shiokara hotate, and condiments such as mayonnaise.
The umami flavor of hotate concentrates when processed, and is a great snack to accompany sake.
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Local Dish Using Sea Scallops
Kayaki Miso, or grilled miso scallop, is a country-style dish in which sea scallops and eggs seasoned with dashi broth and miso are grilled together in a large scallop shell.