Types of Shellfish
There are various varieties of shellfish in North America, however most individuals stick with the usual favorites: clams, crab, shrimp, or lobster. Broaden your horizons, and also you’ll be delighted with the variability and taste of some surprising treats from the ocean.
Here’s a consultant sampling of the extra standard shellfish species, recognized by their commonest names.
Abalone: This mollusk grows wild in waters alongside the California coast. However as a result of business fishing of abalone is prohibited, wild abalone have to be pried off underwater rocks by sport divers, who legally can’t promote their catch. Farm-raised pink abalone from California are broadly accessible, nevertheless, and are sometimes present in Asian markets. Purple abalone common about three inches in shell size. You get about six abalone meats to the pound. Abalone could be bought recent, frozen, or dried. It’s additionally accessible by mail order from growers in California.
Clams: For essentially the most half, clams are caught in native waters. Easterners eat Atlantic clams, and Westerners take pleasure in Pacific varieties. Clams are harvested by digging them from the sand at low tide or are scooped from beds in deeper waters. They’re comparable on every coast. Clams could also be hard-shelled or soft-shelled. Basically, clams are candy and a bit chewy, although taste and relative tenderness rely on the dimensions and species.
Conch: Harvested from southern waters, conch is especially standard in Florida and the Caribbean. The chicken of the conch is encased in a phenomenal, brightly coloured spiral shell. As with abalone and whelk, it’s the conch’s foot-like muscle that’s eaten, both uncooked or cooked. Conch could be bought recent or frozen in specialty seafood shops and is usually present in Chinese language or Italian markets. It’s generally mistakenly known as whelk, which, although associated, is a wholly completely different species.
Crab: Crabs belong to a broad spectrum of crustaceans (animals with a shell). They’ve many legs—10!—the entrance two of which have scissor-like pincers. Though crabs have traditionally been related to cranky tendencies, maybe as a result of they fearlessly brandish their pincers at people and are all too comfortable to take a nip out of an harmless swimmer’s toe, they’re a prized seafood. There are freshwater crabs and saltwater crabs, the latter being the extra plentiful and commercially accessible.
Crayfish (crawfish): Crayfish, often known as crawfish or crawdads within the South, could be discovered wild in any number of recent water. As a result of most crayfish are aquafarmed, there’s much less danger of insufficient provide, regardless of heavy demand in Creole and Cajun-style Southern delicacies. Like lobsters, these tiny reddish-brown creatures flip shiny pink when cooked. Crayfish are usually shelled and eaten with the fingers. Candy and succulent, crayfish meat tastes considerably like that of lobster, although much less dense and wealthy. Many of the meat is discovered within the tail, with smaller quantities additionally discovered within the physique and claws.
Lobster: American lobsters could be present in saltwater alongside the East Coast, from Newfoundland to the Carolinas. The king of shellfish, the American lobster is a hard-shelled creature with a jointed physique and 5 pairs of legs. Lobsters have the fascinating potential to regenerate misplaced limbs, The foremost of a lobster’s ten legs is a set of heavy claws. The claws—in addition to the tail and physique cavity—include a candy, agency, succulent meat that’s thought-about a delicacy by many. Though lobsters are available quite a lot of colours, together with mild yellow, greenish-brown, blue, gray, and pale orange, when they’re cooked they flip a vivid pink. Therefore the expression “pink as a lobster.”
Mussels: These slender blue-black bivalves are discovered on each the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Of their pure state, they connect themselves to surf-washed rocks and spend half the time submerged and half the time within the air because the tide comes and goes.
Octopus: Presumably the strangest-looking sea creature used as meals, the purplish-black octopus is caught totally on the Pacific coast and can also be imported. It’s often offered frozen or thawed and already cleaned. Octopus offers a unprecedented quantity of vitamin B12.
Oysters: Lengthy valued as a culinary delicacy, the oyster is a shellfish that’s harvested wild from pure beds or, extra typically, from cultivated grounds. Inside its tough, hinged outer shells rests the gentle, edible physique, which might differ broadly in style and texture. In the USA right this moment, dozens of various kinds of oysters can be found.
Periwinkles: There are greater than 300 species of this conical, spiral-shelled univalve, often known as winkles or sea snails. The most typical edible varieties are the Edible Periwinkle, Gulf Periwinkle, and Southern Periwinkle, accessible in specialty seafood shops and Asian markets. Edible Periwinkles develop to solely about 1 inch in measurement, so that you’ll want lots to make a meal. The snails have to be simmered briefly earlier than the meat could be picked out, a course of finest executed with a toothpick.
Scallops: The scallop is called for the good-looking, fluted fan-shaped shells that encompass the nuggets of tender-firm meat inside. Many individuals who aren’t significantly keen on fish or shellfish benefit from the delicate, candy taste of this bivalve mollusk.
Sea urchin: These tiny creatures in spiny onerous shells are members of a giant group of marine animals referred to as Echinodermata, which additionally contains starfish and sand . Reside sea urchins could be bought at high quality seafood purveyors or Asian markets. The spines ought to transfer when touched. To get to the edible roe (uni to sushi followers), which clings to the highest inside a part of the shell, you chop a circle within the backside of the shell with scissors and scoop it out with a small spoon. You should definitely put on gloves when doing so. Sea urchin roe can also be packed and offered in trays for the retail market. Search for agency roe that’s shiny yellow or orange, not too darkish or discolored. As a result of it’s extremely perishable, you could wish to ask for a style earlier than shopping for.
Shrimp: Shrimp is a crustacean that ranks Number one as Individuals’ favourite seafood. Like hen, its dense chicken has a recent, delicate taste that marries nicely with quite a lot of components. In contrast to its shut family members, lobsters and crayfish, shrimp are primarily swimmers somewhat than crawlers. They swim ahead by paddling the legs on their abdomens, however they’ll transfer backward rapidly by utilizing their fanlike tails. Shrimp are present in heat coastal water from Virginia on south, however the largest shrimp-fishing space is the Gulf of Mexico. The shrimp which are caught are often frozen proper on the boat, or generally packed in ice for delivery “recent.”
Squid: Extra streamlined than its relative, the octopus, this 10-armed cephalopod is netted on each coasts and is typically marketed as calamari, its Italian identify. Squid has a agency, chewy texture and a gentle taste. It’s offered each complete and dressed, and is accessible recent or frozen. The squid’s hole physique, additionally referred to as the mantle or tube, is ideal for stuffing or could also be lower crosswise into rings. The tentacles could be chopped into items and eaten as nicely. Squid include a sac of brownish-black ink used as protecting camouflage in its ocean habitat. Some recipes name for the ink for use in cooking the squid.
Whelk: Harvested from chilly waters from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, the frequent northern whelk (Buccinum undatum), is notable for its thick spiral shell and flavorful meat. As with abalone and conch, it’s the foot-like muscle that’s eaten. Whelk meat is blotchy white, streaked with black. Whelk are primarily offered in Asian and Italian markets.