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How to Select and Cook Shellfish

Shellfish can be broken down into 3 basic categories:
• Crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, lobster, crayfish)
• Mollusks (mussels, clams, abalone, scallops, oysters)
• Cephalops (octopus and squid)

Flavors, textures and varieties vary widely. Shellfish do not have a long fresh shelf life so eat 'em up fast. See the chart below for some info.

How do you know when they are cooked?

Shrimp cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and lose its flavor. When Lobster and crab meat turns red and opaque in center when cut

Clams, mussels and oysters point at which their shells open - throw away any that do not open.


Type                                      Ocean                               Characteristics                       Cooking Method

Clams, Butter

Puget Sound

Lean rubbery, sweet

Bake, steam, stew, sauté

Clams, Quahog

East Coast

Large hard shell

Bake, steam, stew, sauté

Clams, Littleneck

East and West Coast

Small, usually eaten on the half shell

Bake, steam, stew, sauté

Clams, Razor

West Coast

Soft shelled

Bake, steam, stew, sauté

Clams, Soft

East and West Coast

Soft shelled

Bake, steam, stew, sauté

Conch

Southern Florida, Gulf, Caribbean

Tough�you need to beat it to tenderize it

Bake, braise, broil, stew

Crab, Blue

Atlantic and Gulf

Sweet, succulent meat

All

Crabs, Blue soft

Atlantic and Gulf

Sweet, succulent meat, they have shed their shells

Pan fried and grilled are best, sautéed, bakes

Crabs, Rock

Atlantic North Carolina to Texas

Sweet, succulent meat

All

Crabs, Dungeness

Pacific

Sweet, succulent meat

All

Crabs, King

North Pacific Atlantic

Ya only eat the legs with these bad boys

Steam, bake

Lobsters

Tropics, Australia, South Pacific

Firm meat not as sweet as Maine Lobster

Steam, boil love

Lobsters, Spiny (crayfish)

Tropics, Australia, South Pacific

Eat the tails only.

All methods�Steam, grill etc.

 

Mussels

Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean

Slightly tough and sweet

Steam and love em

Oysters, Easter

Atlantic

Range from bland to salty to firm to tender, better than the pacific oyster

Steam, bake, Raw

Oysters, Pacific

Pacific

Range from bland to salty to firm to tender

Steam, bake, Raw

Oysters, Olympia

Puget Sound

Range from bland to salty to firm to tender

 

Scallops, Bay

East Coast

Small and sweet meat, sweeter than Sea Scallops

All

Scallops, Sea

 

Larger Sweet and moist, less tender and more chewy than bay

 

Shrimp

   Colossal

   Extra Jumbo

   Jumbo

   Extra Large

   Large

   Medium Large

   Small

   Extra Small

Fresh and Salt water All over the world

Sweet and lovely

All cooking methods

Squid

Salt water, moderate climate throughout the world

Light extremely firm flesh

 

Snails

California

Dense, chewy

 

 







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