It’s time to embrace fish and seafood! In this month’s blog, Jenius Social’s head chef Andrew Clements reveals his top seafood facts and tricks…
Lobster and crabs are sold live or cooked - if you’re buying fresh, make sure they’re alive with clear signs of muscular activity. Lobster and crabs are never sold dead because the flesh deteriorates fast, making it mushy and tasteless. Cooking stops this process.
If you’re cooking with bivalves (crustaceans with two shells such as mussels, cockles, oysters and clams), make sure the shells are closed - or that they stay closed when tapped or squeezed together. If you’ve got any that stay open or with broken shells, chuck them in the bin.
A single adult oyster filters upwards of 50 gallons of sea water in the space of 24 hours. Best not to think about what’s in that sea water really, isn’t it? It’s also the reason never to skip our next tip…
When you’re preparing shellfish, get hands-on and give them a wash in cold water to remove any grit, sand and mud. Your guests and their fillings will thank you later!
Lobster is still an extremely expensive menu item, lauded around the world. However, like oysters, they were once far cheaper and far less revered. In fact, in colonial times they were considered to be the poor man’s chicken, eaten only by paupers and fed to the pigs and goats.
If you have to buy your shellfish in advance, they’ll keep in the bottom of your fridge for a few days - preferably covered with a damp cloth (or seaweed if you have it).
Ever wondered just how much meat you’re getting when you buy crustaceans? Seeing as most of it is shell and body parts, the meat accounts for around a third of the weight you buy.
Lobsters may be bright red when they’re served to your table, but that’s not the way they start out. Uncooked and au natural, lobsters can be yellow, green or even bright blue - it’s the cooking that makes them blush.
Got a fresh, wriggling lobster to cook? First, put it in the freezer for two hours before cooking which gives it a painless death. Then prepare a pan of salted, boiling water: 150g salt to every ten pints of water. Your lobster will cook at different speeds, depending on its weight - for anything up to 750g, give it 15 minutes; if your lobster weighs 1.25kg, allow 20 minutes.
All of the following are a perfect match for seafood - try them and see for yourself! Pernod/Ricard or a dry white vermouth such as Noilly Prat; fresh fennel or dried seed; capers; vinegar - either red wine, sherry or balsamic; Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla); saffron and Maldon Sea Salt. Happy eating!
Andrew shares his favourite Bouillabaisse Recipe.
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