1

votes

intro to shellfish?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 17, 2011 at 1:35 AM

So I've been doing my version of paleo for a couple of months now, and have been adding stuff to my diet that I never ate before either because I didn't like it or thought it was unhealthy. I now really like steak, eggs, good bacon, etc. I'd like to add shellfish, but again I've always been grossed out by all forms -- I mean, they are invertebrates. However, at the beginning of September, I was grossed out by ground beef, and last night I made kick-ass burgers and loved every juicy bite.

Shellfish consumers: What's a good one to start with if you are a little mollusk- and/or crustacean-shy? Any of those little critters milder-flavored and/or less slimy than others? Any good recipes and/or prep tips?

ETA: by "shellfish" I really mean anything with a shell or an exoskeleton -- clams & mussels & their ilk, yes, but also shrimp, crabs, crawdads, etc. (Though crustaceans have the added gross-factor of looking like insects.)

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on November 18, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Almost all shrimp are frozen on the boat before they make it to your fishmonger. "Fresh" shrimp are almost always just thawed frozen shrimp, so buy frozen and give yourself control over when they're thawed.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on November 18, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Almost all shrimp are frozen on the boat before they make it to your fishmonger. Buy frozen.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 18, 2011
at 12:22 AM

If so I hope you love them! I do envy you - so many wonderful things to be tasting for the first time ...

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on November 17, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Um, why are you being so hostile? :( I was just trying to confirm what is classified as shellfish for my own curiosity. Thanks for the cooking tips. ;)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 09:20 PM

Can we talk phoenix? This is not a serious debate. Around here a shellfish license is good for clams and wild oysters, but not crabs and shrimp, so I differentiate. The cooking methods are different too. Soft mollusks steam well just like crustaceans, but many mollusks present as solid non-fibrous meat. Generally that meat responds well to hot and fast pan frying, but you have to be careful because overcooking will make it tough. You don't want to waste that expensive abalone.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on November 17, 2011
at 08:50 PM

@thhq - I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say. As far as I know, both mollusks and crustaceans are shellfish. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_types_of_seafood#Shellfish

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Thanks! Great list! I've gotta see if I can find fresh shrimp around here...

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Thanks, Melissa -- anything crisped in ghee sounds pretty delicious, I've gotta say.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:46 PM

Thank you! In past trips to Maine, I'm always the only one not eating the ubiquitous fresh lobstah -- maybe the next time I'm there, I'll be ready!

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Thanks! Scallops don't seem terribly slimy either. I don't think I am ready to eat something with tentacles, though.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:39 PM

I was mostly thinking of mollusks, but I did really mean anything with an exoskeleton -- so shrimp-related suggestions are most welcome!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Keep clam phoenix. An exoskeleton does not make a crustacean a mollusk. And come to think about I wish I had some conch to simmer in garlicky tomato sauce for dinner. Scungili...oh my....

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:46 PM

But they are shellfish, no? The question is "intro to shellfish".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Mmmmoules mariniere.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:09 PM

tasty as the are, shrimp and crab aren't mollusks....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:06 PM

I second the scallops. Very lightly cooked (or raw) squid and octopus are good too.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on November 17, 2011
at 03:42 AM

This shrimp recipe is darn tasty and super easy: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/creamy-macadamia-shrimp/

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:46 AM

I second APC - shrimp, or preferably prawns, are very user-friendly. Yes to prawns + coconut, a winning combination. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE scallops but they are a bit slimier and pricier. Also they can be hard to prepare properly (overdone scallops turn to rubber). Maybe the next time you're in a nice restaurant, order them to see how great they can be. Scallops seared in butter... heaven.

A141571ee2453db572c9d3222657bf6b

(756)

on November 17, 2011
at 02:29 AM

you must like shrimp. I refuse to believe anyone does not like shrimp... and crab. I also always enjoyed fried clam as a kid. haven't had it lately, but now I'm thinking about it. maybe battered in coconut flour and pan fried in butter or lard. mmmmmm

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4 Answers

3
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on November 17, 2011
at 04:37 AM

I think the easiest shellfish are scallops seared in ghee an sprinkled with some fresh parsley or tarragon. Sweet and taste like the ocean. Get them fresh not frozen if you don't want a fishy taste.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:06 PM

I second the scallops. Very lightly cooked (or raw) squid and octopus are good too.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Thanks! Scallops don't seem terribly slimy either. I don't think I am ready to eat something with tentacles, though.

2
C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

on November 17, 2011
at 07:29 PM

I would go in this order, to get you used to the tastes and the fact that these are progressively less recognizable as animals:

  • Shrimp fried
  • Shrimp as cocktail (because they are just so good.)
  • Lobster, steamed whole
  • Crab, steamed whole (similar to lobster, with meat in the shells and claws)
  • Squid, fried.
  • Mussels, steamed (absorb flavors well when steamed, so you will recognize white wine and garlic, or pomodoro in the flavor. plus you can scoop the sauce with shells)
  • Clams, steamed (clams have a bit stronger flavor/meatiness)
  • Clams, fried whole (with bellies)
  • Scallops (look like marshmallows, but taste like heaven)
  • Oysters, raw (you will be ready for these by this point)

I'm not really a fan of cooked oysters except in oyster stew, but at this point you may want to try them.

Then finally you can go for the really exotic stuff, like sea urchin.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Thanks! Great list! I've gotta see if I can find fresh shrimp around here...

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on November 18, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Almost all shrimp are frozen on the boat before they make it to your fishmonger. Buy frozen.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on November 18, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Almost all shrimp are frozen on the boat before they make it to your fishmonger. "Fresh" shrimp are almost always just thawed frozen shrimp, so buy frozen and give yourself control over when they're thawed.

2
559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

on November 17, 2011
at 05:39 PM

I grew up in an English fishing community and little cockles, winkles and mussels cooked in vinegar and served on tiny china plates were real treats.

Crustaceans are delicious - prawns (shrimp) and crab are affordable (at least here in the UK). Lobster is not the cheapest but has a nice, meaty texture, has a wonderful affinity with melted butter and is less fiddly to eat than smaller crustaceans. They all taste a little bit sweet. Fresh is best, but they are all good frozen.

Molluscs really are best freshly caught - I wouldn't bother with them unless you are sure they are very fresh. Frozen or tinned just don't work, to my mind, as the textures change too much. Oysters might not be a good place for a beginner to start but to my mind they taste of the sea and are heavenly. Mussels have quite a meaty taste and go well with cream, shallots and parsley (with a drop of cider when we are in Normandy).

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:46 PM

Thank you! In past trips to Maine, I'm always the only one not eating the ubiquitous fresh lobstah -- maybe the next time I'm there, I'll be ready!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2011
at 06:11 PM

Mmmmoules mariniere.

559a1bf85bfe38a0fbbf56377c7278b4

(1548)

on November 18, 2011
at 12:22 AM

If so I hope you love them! I do envy you - so many wonderful things to be tasting for the first time ...

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 17, 2011
at 03:33 AM

I grew up with an intense aversion to shellfish, but was won over by shrimp and crab in my early twenties. I love love love shrimp battered with egg yolk, dipped in coconut flour and spices, then crisped in ghee. I eat shellfish I find unpleasant too though like oysters, but swallow them down with wine.

D7ec5ab98a0b971f9e24b4e654abfa7d

on November 17, 2011
at 08:47 PM

Thanks, Melissa -- anything crisped in ghee sounds pretty delicious, I've gotta say.

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