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Old 01-30-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
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New to Shellfish

I want to start cooking with shellfish, specifically clams and mussels. I have done some reading on how to prepare them for cooking - some recipes just scrub them and toss them into the pot, others soak them in cornmeal or flour or several changes of sal****er - what's the best way to handle them? Thanks

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Old 01-30-2007, 04:03 PM   #2
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Simply scrub them well and put them in a pot with some water to boil. Once they open up, turn off the heat. You can use them in spaghetti, paella, clam chowder etc. Do not throw away the stock but keep it to flavour your dish.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:24 PM   #3
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Great advice. One way to do mussels that I find delicious is mussels meuniere.

Basically you heat them in a pan with shallots, garlic, white wine, spices and butter. Very easy to make. Just ask Mr. Google for a recipe.

Generally have found most East coast clams and mussels relatively free of sand. Except, of course, the soft shell, or Ipswitch, clams of the Northeast.

Have always had problems purging them of sand.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:32 PM   #4
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When I steam shellfish like mussels or clams (hard or soft shell), I always do it in about an inch of dry white wine along with some smashed garlic cloves, a couple of dried hot red peppers, & some whole sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme, & any other fresh herbs I have about. I cover the pot & steam until they open, then remove them & serve with melted lemon butter.

Sometimes I'll strain the broth & serve it; sometimes I'll strain & freeze it for another use (seafood soups, stews, pasta sauces).
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:35 PM   #5
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Oh, & while I do soak clams in plain cold water for a couple of hours (especially soft-shelled clams), the farmed mussels one gets these days don't require any soaking at all - just a quick rinse under running water & perhaps a slight "de-bearding" (just pulling off the seaweed-like strands the mussel uses to attach itself to objects).
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Old 01-30-2007, 06:16 PM   #6
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so I'm trying to figure out what was censored..... when it dawned on me. I believe the words you were looking for are salt water....two words, not one!

When you buy the mollusks, keep them refrigerated no more than a day. Do not let the bag seal or they will suffocate. Don't leave them on ice, or they can freeze. When you are ready to cook them, rinse them under cool water, making sure that any that have popped open close again. If you are not sure, gently tap on the open ones...they should close. If they remain open, discard them.

I'm not sure what your recipe is...but normally, for mussles, I'll have my sauce complete, just waiting for the addition of the mussles. Drop them in, cover, and let steam for a couple of mintutes. Discard any that have not opened, and serve immediately.

If I am doing clams, especially for a sauce, I steam them seperately, so I can be sure I've eliminated all the sand. Then I add them to the sauce, toss and serve.
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:16 PM   #7
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when I do mussels, I wash and debeard them, heat a very heavy bottomed pot over medium high and throw them in. Cover them, shake the pot, they are done in a few minutes. The water on the shells, and the juice they exude will keep them from burning. Discard any that haven't opened. Have your favourite sauce ready, and dump the mussels into it. The only time I've had clams that I liked, we went clamming on Vancouver Island. They were steamed, and served with drawn butter, great bread and a salad.
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