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Guide to shellfish

 
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Athene
Garde Manger Chef


Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 52
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:08 am    Post subject: Guide to shellfish Reply with quote

Squid are part of the cephalopod family and are sometimes also known as calamari. They can vary enormously in size and are widely available fresh or frozen. For the best results cook with fresh squid.
When cooked well, squid is sweet and tender. To prevent the flesh becoming tough and rubbery, it should be either cooked very quickly or stewed for a long time.
Squid can either be sliced into rings or cut into small pieces for cooking. The tentacles are also edible. Whole squid can be stuffed and braised.
For the best results, either pan-fry or dip into a light batter and deep fry. Squid is an important ingredient in the Spanish dish paella. Larger squid are perfect for rich fish stews.

A variety of prawns is available all year round and they can vary enormously in size.
Prawns are almost always frozen before arriving in the UK Ė either raw or cooked - but may have been defrosted before you buy them. Donít refreeze after thawing as the flavour and texture will be affected.
Prawns should always feel firm with flexible shells. Donít buy them if they're soft or smell of ammonia.
Make sure that frozen prawns are properly defrosted before heating or cooking.
Donít allow prawns to overcook or they will become tough - but always cook through. If using cooked prawns for a dish, add them towards the end of cooking time and allow to heat through.
Prawns can be peeled before cooking or cooked with their shells on. Pan-fry, steam or boil prawns with or without their shells. Unpeeled larger prawns also grill and barbecue well.

Mussels are a seasonal seafood widely available in fishmongers and major supermarkets during the months of September to April. Many are farmed in the lochs of Scotland. Like most molluscs, they are sold live and should be cooked as soon as possible.
As with all seafood, care should be taken to ensure mussels are really fresh, alive and have come from a reputable source. (Dead mussels may be toxic.)
To prepare mussels, firstly throw away any with damaged shells, or those that remain open after tapping sharply on the worksurface.
Scrape the shells clean with the back of a knife. Get rid of any grit or mud by washing several times in cold water. Pull out and discard the stringy beards. Soak mussels in a bowl of cold water for around 15 minutes before using if possible and throw away any mussels that float to the top. After cooking, throw away any mussels that donít open
Mussels are usually steamed in a large pan with a tight fitting lid Ė often with onion, garlic, wine and parsley. But they can also be cooked in fish soups and baked or grilled after steaming Ė usually with a stuffing in half the shell

There are many varieties of clam, but they can all be prepared in a similar way.
Only buy very fresh clams with a clean, fresh smell of the sea and eat on the day of purchase. Discard any with cracked or broken shells.
Wash well before using and soak in a bowl of cold water for around 15 minutes before using if possible. Throw away any that float to the top or remain open.
Clams are usually steamed in a large pan with a tight fitting lid. They can also be added to fish soups and stews, or tossed through freshly cooked pasta.

When properly cooked, good scallops are deliciously sweet with a firm yet tender texture Ė but they can be expensive!
They should always be very fresh and should be eaten as soon as possible after buying. Always ensure that they come from a reputable source. Avoid any that have a strong, fishy smell.
Open scallops by separating the shells with a knife. The edible part is the round white muscle and the orange and white roe (called coral) Ė although often itís only the white part thatís served. The stomach sack, frilly Ďskirtí and small white ligament should be discarded.
Cook quickly to preserve the rich delicate flavour. Steam, pan-fry, grill or cook on a griddle Ė usually for no more 30 seconds. Scallops turn opaque as they cook
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