How To Eat Fresh Seafood
If given a choice I will always choose to eat fresh seafood over any of the preserved varieties, be it dried, cured, frozen, canned, or anything else. However, selecting and preparing fresh seafood can be quite intimidating for someone who has not handled fresh seafood before. If you are eager to know how to eat fresh seafood then do refer to this simple guide on eating fresh seafood.
Seafood, you must realize, refers to almost all edible aquatic organisms, including fin fish, roe, and shellfish. Since each family of seafood need to be treated differently, I will be dealing specifically with shellfish in this particular blog. For detailed information on how to eat fresh fin fish, refer to my other blog on the same subject.
Shell fish is a broad category name given to all non-fin aquatic animals, and includes crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, and shrimps, and mollusks like squid, oysters, snail, etc. Eating fresh shellfish involves 4 distinct steps – selecting, cleaning/preparing, cooking, and finally eating.
Selecting: Due to the highly perishable nature of shellfish, selecting the freshest variety of shellfish is essential. The easiest freshness test is smell of the shellfish; the animal must have salty sea water like smell with just a hint of fishiness. The other indicators of freshness are:
• Clams and mussels must be bought live; dead ones will make you sick. For this, choose tightly closed, moist but not slimy shells. Also, avoid dry, cracked, or broken shells.
• Scallops must be firm, avoid mushy/slimy organisms.
• Lobsters and crabs too must be bought alive, the animals be active and look healthy; sluggish movements indicate starvation, and must be avoided.
• Shrimps must look fresh and have clear life like eyes; shrimps with dull cloudy eyes must be avoided.
• Squid must be firm, have a clear and shiny (not slimy) appearance, and purple colored skin with fine specks – the skin must not have any tears or bruises. Also, the tentacles must be stiff and intact.
Cleaning/preparing: To clean the shellfish first wash the bought fish in tap water. Then depending upon the type of shellfish proceed…
• Shelled seafood must be opened and separated from their shell (called shucking) before
• It is much easier to clean a shrimp – just pull out the legs and tail, peel out the shell and remove the central vein with a knife.
• For crabs and lobsters, break off the claws, remove the shell, and chop off the face. Now, remove the innards and scrape out all the meat.
• For squid just remove the skin and use.
Cooking and eating: Shellfish must be processed and cooked as soon as possible, preferable the same day. The shellfish are so flavorful that many of the shellfish can be eaten raw, and the once that do need to be cooked are prepared using very simple techniques and basic ingredients.
• Mussels are usually steamed with the shell on, till the shells pop open and then served with wine/vinegar and garlic.
• Oysters are almost always eaten raw.
• Scallops may be grilled, fried, roasted, or sautéed and served as an entrée. Scallop Serviche is a great way to savor scallops.
• Soft shelled Clams may be grilled, baked, or roasted with the shell on; you can also shuck the clam and use it in a stirfry.
Basically, you can relish the shellfish in whichever way you like; I guarantee you will love taste anyways. Moreover, shellfish are not only a culinary delight but also full of nutrition. Refer to these amazing fresh shellfish recipes on ifood.tv for some more ideas on how to eat fresh shellfish.
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