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Preparing Seafood 101

Posted on 8.10.2015

We’re often intimidated when it comes to cooking seafood because of the cleaning process. But, did you know that seafood is actually easy to work with and hard to mess up? They even require very little work. 

Here are some basic tips to help you get started. 

Tips on How to Clean a Whole Fish

1. Firstly, wash the fish thoroughly under cool running water to rid of any slime. Using a sharp knife, cut off the fins on both sides of the fish. 

2. If the fish needs scaling, place the dull side of your blade at a 45-degree angle with the sharp side facing towards you. Make sure your knife is positioned against the grain of the scales, then start scraping away from yourself in steady motions. Continue until the fish is smooth.  

Note: Wear a rubber glove while scaling your fish for better grip and to not let the sharp fins hurt your fingers.  

3. Insert the tip of your knife into the small hole located above the tail fin. From there, cut right up to the jawbone of the fish. 

4. Once you’ve made the cut, pull the internal organs out with your hands. 

5. When the inside has been cleaned, rinse the outside and the internal cavity of the fish under cold water.

Tips on How to Peel Shrimp by Hand

1. Pull the legs off the shrimp.

2. Break open the shell from underneath by cracking it with your thumb and peel it off. 

3. You can choose to either leave the tail on or not. If you’d like to remove it, pinch the tail where it meets the body of the shrimp and gently pull it off. 

Tips on How to Peel Shrimp with a Kitchen Shears

1. Run the kitchen shears along the top of the shrimp and stop at the tail.

2. Peel the shell and discard.

3. You can choose to either leave the tail on or not. If you’d like to remove it, pinch the tail where it meets the body of the shrimp and gently pull it off. 

Tips on How to Devein Shrimp

1. Gently run a paring knife along the back of the shrimp, from head to tail, cutting about halfway through the shrimp.

2. Keep in mind that you might not find a vein in every shrimp but if you do spot it, use your knife to gently pull it out. 

Tips on how to clean crabs:

1. Firstly, thoroughly scrub the shell of the crab with a brush under running water. 

2. Next, lift the apron of the crabs belly and discard the entire top shell. You can do this by holding on to the middle of the shell near the eyes. 

3. Then, discard the gills and spongey stomach of the crab. 

4. Finally, you can break the body in half and give it one final rinse before you start cooking. 

Tips on how to open oysters:

1. Wash the oysters in cold water and discard any with shells that are open. 

2. To protect your hand, wrap a kitchen towel over one hand and use it to hold the oyster firmly. 

3. Place the tip of a shucking knife (a kitchen tool used to open oysters) at the bottom of the hinge, twist the knife by placing a bit of pressure and force the hinge open. 

4. Slide the knife inside the shell to cut the muscle that’s holding the lid and remove the top shell. 

5. Gently cut the muscle attaching the fleshy bit to the lower shell

Tips on how to open scallops:

1. Place scallop on your cutting board with the flat shell up. Insert the point of a paring knife between the shells and slide it across the underside of the top shell to sever the internal muscle. 

2. Open the shell fully. Use a spoon to release the scallop from the bottom shell.

3. Remove any dark membrane around the meat of the scallop and leave just the white flesh and any coral. 

4. Rinse the scallop thoroughly under cold water. 

Tips on How to Open Clams

1. Scrub clams under cool running water with a stiff kitchen brush. 

2. Wrap your hand with a towel and hold the clam.

3. Using a clam knife, cut into the clam while keeping the blade as close to the top of the shell. Place a bowl underneath to catch the juices that may drip. 

4. Push the knife deep into the clam until it cuts the muscle that keeps the shells together. 

5. Next, rotate the knife until the shell opens. Place your index finger in between the shells as you cut further into the clam. 

6. Pull the top shell upward and twist it off.

7. Gently cut away the clam from the shell using your knife, cutting off the remaining muscles. 

8. Empty the clam and juices into a bowl.

*Note: If you don’t have a clam knife, use a thin, short, dull knife. Never use a sharp kitchen knife. 

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