A Quick Guide to Cooking Shellfish

Summer is a great time to enjoy some shellfish, whether that’s in a lobster roll, a traditional seafood boil, or some lovely grilled shrimp. In this article, we’ll talk about some important (and nutritious) shellfish and the simple but delicious ways you can enjoy them.


These ugly but delicious creatures carry the simple taste of the area they are harvested from. You can enjoy them fresh or cooked.

If fresh, you’ll want to wash the shells well and use a shucking knife to gently open the shell from the pointed edge of each oyster. This takes time and practice but it’s a great pleasure to open up that first oyster on your own. If you want to bypass the shucking process you could always bake the oysters whole. They will open up from the heat in the oven (usually in about ten minutes).

If you don’t end up slurping those shucked oysters down raw (or with a combo of lemon juice, Tobasco, and pickled shallots) you could put them on a baking tray and sprinkle cheese, panko, and spinach to create a delicious topping that will be the beginnings of a dish known as Oysters Rockefeller. Ten minutes in the oven will get you a delicious treat.

You could alternatively bake the oysters on their own for that same ten minutes, then finish them with melted butter and bacon bits, and some chimichurri on the side.


The first thing you want to do with your mussels is clean them. That means pulling off the fibrous bits (beards) and cleaning the shells with a scrub brush to remove any grit or sand. If you find any open ones tap them on the counter. If they shut, they are safe to eat, if they don’t close, toss them.

Once you’ve got a pile of cleaned mussels you can toss them into a pan of sautéing onions and garlic and then some wine or stock. After a minute of cooking put the lid on the pan and the mussels will cook in the steam and open up when they are done (usually around 4 minutes). Add some fresh herbs and serve them in a bowl that can hold the fragrant broth you’ve cooked them in.


Like mussels, clams also need to be scrubbed for sand, but before you get to that step, you’ll want to soak them in salty water for 20 minutes so that any grit filters out into the water. After that, you’ll move them into another bowl filled with plain water to remove the saltiness. Then they are ready to get scrubbed.

We’re probably most familiar with clams as part of a pasta dish, and if you want to use them this way, you’ll want to toss them into your pasta sauce for the final 3-4 minutes of cooking time. Then add your pasta, toss, and serve.

You can also steam your clams in a broth just like you steam mussels.

One of the best parts of eating shellfish? It’s good for you! They are often low in calories and offer a good source of protein and healthy fats, along with zinc, B12, iron, and selenium. They also contain carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that are crucial for a healthy immune system.

43600cookie-checkA Quick Guide to Cooking Shellfish

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