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How to Cook Shellfish
Shellfish may seem difficult to prepare, but the opposite is true. Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops can add variety and nutrition.
Shellfish may seem difficult to prepare, but the opposite is true. Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops can add variety and nutrition to the menu with simple, flavorful recipes. Ask your fishmonger what's in season and get in the kitchen.
Store fresh mussels in an open bowl in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Rinse fresh mussels under slow running water for about 30 minutes. Discard any heavy mussels (that are filled with mud), any broken shells or any shells that are open.
Take a sharp knife and carefully scrape off the "beard" from the edge of each mussels. Pick out the crunchy, edible pea crabs that live on the mussels.
Steam the mussels 8 to 10 minutes until the shells pop open. Serve with a sauce made from butter, white wine and garlic.
Pick up oysters in the months containing the letter R (September) or in winter months when the cold water in the oyster bed produces peak flavor. Look for undamaged shells that are shut tight.
Ask the fishmonger to shuck fresh oysters or do it yourself. Scrub the outside and shuck them carefully with a sharp knife. Wear a heavy rubber glove to hold the oyster shell to avoid injury.
Serve raw oysters on the half-shell with cocktail sauce and crackers, or baked florentine. Saute whole oysters, make oyster chowder or fry them in a light breading.
Choose sea scallops or bay scallops, both of which come shucked and ready to prepare. Strip off and discard the little strip of tendon that is attached to each scallop.
Buy "dry" scallops. Refuse scallops that have been soaked in phosphates, which causes them to absorb water and lose flavor.
Make Scallop Serviche, an appetizer made with fresh bay scallops marinated in citrus juices. Grill, roast or saute large scallops as an entrée.
Stuff scallops with a mixture of bread crumbs and basil.
Buy fresh clams in the shell. Store in an open bowl in the refrigerator.
Wash the clams under running water to remove any sand before preparing them. Small hardshell clams should be handled in the same manner as mussels.
Cook softshell clams before eating them. Wash them thoroughly under running water, as they always contain a lot of sand and mud.
Steam, fry, bake and grill clams. Shuck them and prepare them in a stir-fry.
17. Shop The Crab Place for award-winning Maryland seafood.