What to look for…
Shellfish can be broken down into 3 basic categories:
- Crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, lobster, crayfish)
- Mollusks (mussels, clams, abalone, scallops, oysters)
- Cephalops (octopus and squid)
Flavors, textures and varieties vary widely. Shellfish do not have a long fresh shelf life so eat ‘em up fast. See the chart below for some info.
How do you know when they are cooked?
Shrimp cook until medium-rare (do not overcook or the meat will become dry and loose its flavor. When Lobster and crabmeat turns red and opaque in center when cut. Clams, mussels and oysters point at which their shells open – throw away any that do not open.
Type Source Characteristics Cooking Method
|Clams, Butter||Puget Sound||Lean rubbery, sweet||Bake, steam, stew, sauté|
|Clams, Quahog||East Coast||Large hard shell||Bake, steam, stew, sauté|
|Clams, Littleneck||East and West Coast||Small, usually eaten on the half shell||Bake, steam, stew, sauté|
|Clams, Razor||West Coast||Soft shelled||Bake, steam, stew, sauté|
|Clams, Soft||East and West Coast||Soft shelled||Bake, steam, stew, sauté|
|Conch||Southern Florida, Gulf, Caribbean||Tough…you need to beat it to tenderize it||Bake, braise, broil, stew|
|Crab, Blue||Atlantic and Gulf||Sweet, succulent meat||All|
|Crabs, Blue soft||Atlantic and Gulf||Sweet, succulent meat, they have shed their shells||Pan fried and grilled are best, sautéed, bakes|
|Crabs, Rock||Atlantic North Carolina to Texas||Sweet, succulent meat||All|
|Crabs, Dungeness||Pacific||Sweet, succulent meat||All|
|Crabs, King||North Pacific Atlantic||Ya only eat the legs with these bad boys||Steam, bake|
Tropics, Australia, South Pacific
Firm meat not as sweet as Maine Lobster
Steam, boil love
|Lobsters, Spiny (crayfish)||Tropics, Australia, South Pacific||Eat the tails only.||All methods…Steam, grill etc.
|Mussels||Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean||Slightly tough and sweet||Steam and love em|
|Oysters, Easter||Atlantic||Range from bland to salty to firm to tender, better than the pacific oyster||Steam, bake, Raw|
|Oysters, Pacific||Pacific||Range from bland to salty to firm to tender||Steam, bake, Raw|
|Oysters, Olympia||Puget Sound||Range from bland to salty to firm to tender|
|Scallops, Bay||East Coast||Small and sweet meat, sweeter than Sea Scallops||All|
|Scallops, Sea||Larger Sweet and moist, less tender and more chewy than bay|
|Fresh and Salt water All over the world||Sweet and lovely||All cooking methods|
|Squid||Salt water, moderate climate throughout the world||Light extremely firm flesh|