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Old 09-24-2008, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
4,466 posts, read 3,531,346 times
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Question re: gritty shellfish...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Here's a seafood question. I don't eat clams, oysters, or mussels because I have ALWAYS gotten sand/grit (whether cooked at someone's home or at a resaurant). I hate the feeling of biting into the grit.

The only exception was when I was in New Caledonia. There was a restaurant on the beach there, they had mussels in what seemed like a cream and herb sauce. It was delicious and out of a whole plate, not one bit of grit.

Is it possible to learn to like these or find a way to get them gritless here in America, or is grit a part of the shell game?
Gritty shellfish comes from the shellfish not being properly purged. On the West Coast as well as East the clams are put into a purging tank for a number of days that removes the grit. Now, this depends on the species of shellfish: Manila clams can have a lot of grit, but, the purging does remove it.
Larger type clams: Quahog(eastern) etc., are harder to purge, while the Cherrystone's are usually grit free after purging.
Frozen Manila clams are (depending on the producer) very good. Large chains use frozen.

Mussels from the Northwest are grown on a rope type of farm and since they live in open water very seldom do NW mussels have grit. The same with the Nova Scotia mussels, no grit. Fresh is best, but the freezing methods used now produce excellent mussels. One restaurant chain that uses frozen mussels is "Olive Garden" and they have excellent results.

Oysters also are purged in large bags that remove any grit, but, oysters usually do not have grit. I have harvested them right off the beach and open and "slurp" with a little lemon and Tabasco...carry a bota bag of white wine...

Re the "shrimpy" questions....the BEST shrimp anywhere: restaurant or home are Gulf Whites from the Gulf of Mexico down around Beaumont, TX. large u/12's (that is 12 or less per pound). Just boil in water for a couple minutes peel and eat.

The frozen shrimp/prawns(large shrimp) that is sold in Idaho and elsewhere could be Black Tigers from the Far East and depending on the producer can very between ok to really bad. Black Tiger is not as tender as Gulf Whites(of which there can be many many types).

Stay away from ANY FRESH WATER SHRIMP OR PRAWN... these are produces in water in Bangledesh and are somethimes called "Bangs". very cheap and have a nasty odor...go figure...Asian restaurants and some hotels I have found use these because they are cheap..but .....

Black Tigers cook quick and are very good broiled, and sauted and even boiled.
They are sold headless, and mostly P/D= peeled and devined.

The Ocean Garden brand of shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico the #1 Whites are the best but the price is up also.

There are 1000's of types of shrimp and prawns. They range in size from under 500 ct. to u/2's (like one to two per pound are are a prawn like the Giant Maylaysian Prawn.

If you can get Fresh Gulf Whites get them.
The grocery chains in Northern Idaho ( I lived there too) like Super One buy from Pacific Seafood and can get just about anything you want and it will be fresh.

I would like to keep this thread going and will discuss Talapia (fresh water) and other 'white fish' soon.

Happy trails,

HW alias Captain Seafood of Pacific Seafood Mukilteo...
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Rochester, MN
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My grandmother heads down to Galveston, TX every so often and always brings back Gulf Shrimp and crabs. The best shrimp ever. I can't wait to move back to TX so that I can go with her on those trips.
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Old 09-24-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Is it possible to learn to like these or find a way to get them gritless here in America, or is grit a part of the shell game?
No, grit is not part of the shell game. It depend of how you know to handle them.

This is what I do, I wash well the clams or mussels by scrubbing them with a brush. Then I place them in a large bowl in the sink.

If they are frozen, allow them to come to room temperature before you start cleaning them.

In a pot I boil water with a bit of salt, and then throw it over the clams. They will open, the ones that are not opening they are dead and not good to eat.
Then take one by one (don't burn yourself) and place under running water, this will rinse the sand away.
Most clams or mussels have the "beard"... remove as much as you can. Once you've done all this... place them in a strainer and fill up the bowl with water and then dip the strainer in the water and bath them for few times.

Very few times I get a grit, but most times I wash them really well.

There is no rule you should have both parts of the shell while cooking, so if you remove one part then the whole wash thing is much more simpler.

My Mussel Portuguese
http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn79/Cuisinette/Main%20Meals/Seafood/Mussel%20Portuguese/Picture003.jpg (broken link)
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
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We moved to Florida a year ago and are discovering the joys of living near the source of seafood. Someone once said, "If you can't smell the ocean, it ain't fresh." How true. We like tilapia (anybody want to share some recipes, I'd love to read them), but I still miss Haddock. Being a cold water fish, it can be awfully scarce down here and is never fresh (naturally). I have never been able to cook lobster tail right. It's either half raw or too tough. Any thoughts?

Thanks. Good thread, OP.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:23 PM
 
3,368 posts, read 7,137,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuisinette View Post

If they are frozen, allow them to come to room temperature before you start cleaning them.
I think it's best to keep them cold - the fridge is the best place to defrost mussels...

It say " Never defrost seafood at room temperature or with hot or warm water."

Better safe than sorry
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:26 PM
 
435 posts, read 777,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southdown View Post
I think it's best to keep them cold - the fridge is the best place to defrost mussels...

It say " Never defrost seafood at room temperature or with hot or warm water."

Better safe than sorry
Right... sorry, I forgot to mention that.
But it needs to be defrosted, you can have them open if they are stoned.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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Dang that dish looks yummy!
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
4,466 posts, read 3,531,346 times
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Default Re: the frozen clam/mussels thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuisinette View Post
No, grit is not part of the shell game. It depend of how you know to handle them.

This is what I do, I wash well the clams or mussels by scrubbing them with a brush. Then I place them in a large bowl in the sink.

If they are frozen, allow them to come to room temperature before you start cleaning them.

[color="Black"][color="Red"]Frozen clams are DEAD....they won't open due to the abductor mussel being weak...."Always cook frozen seafood from the Frozen state. No need to defrost. Restaurants cook frozen clams and mussels directly out of a a packege that has frozen product.[/COLOR] [/COLOR]In a pot I boil water with a bit of salt, and then throw it over the clams. They will open, the ones that are not opening they are dead and not good to eat.
Then take one by one (don't burn yourself) and place under running water, this will rinse the sand away.
Most clams or mussels have the "beard"..""Only mussels have a beard except for the Pismo Clam which has a 'beard, not really a beard' due to being partially out of the water and the strings grow on it.. remove as much as you can. Once you've done all this... place them in a strainer and fill up the bowl with water and then dip the strainer in the water and bath them for few times.

Very few times I get a grit, but most times I wash them really well.
Cheaper products from out of the USA are not purged like US clams and will/can have some grit.
The "old wives tale" to put live clams in a bucket of water with corn meal is pure grit."

There is no rule you should have both parts of the shell while cooking, so if you remove one part then the whole wash thing is much more simpler.

My Mussel Portuguese
After having studied Seafood for 30 years I can stand on my knowledge and have the research to back this up.

Seafood has only been handled best on the East Coast for years and the West Coast has been slow to learn.

Stay tuned on what "Candeling" means to whitefish..

Happy trails,
HW

Last edited by Hunter Wold; 09-24-2008 at 07:49 PM.. Reason: wrong color
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:26 PM
 
435 posts, read 777,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter Wold View Post
After having studied Seafood for 30 years I can stand on my knowledge and have the research to back this up.

Frozen clams are DEAD....they won't open due to the abductor mussel being weak...."Always cook frozen seafood from the Frozen state. No need to defrost.

Restaurants cook frozen clams and mussels directly out of a a packege that has frozen product.

Only mussels have a beard except for the Pismo Clam which has a 'beard, not really a beard' due to being partially out of the water and the strings grow on it
I don't doubt your knowledge.
The question was what is there to do to remove the sand?

I gave an advice as I would do in my kitchen. I had clams and mussels at the restaurant with sand grits that cut the hell out of my appetite.
I refuse to cook them frozen with a hand of sand trapped in the shell.

So what do you do, to have little or no sand?

Last edited by Cuisinette; 09-24-2008 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Maple Lake, MN
8,672 posts, read 9,637,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuisinette View Post
I don't doubt your knowledge.
The question was what is there to do to remove the sand?

I gave an advice as I would do in my kitchen. I had clams and mussels at the restaurant with sand grits that cut the hell out of my appetite.
I refuse to cook them frozen with a hand of sand trapped in the shell.

So what do you do, to have little or no sand?
I have read and tried once with fresh clams, is to cover in cold water and pour a liberal amount of corn meal in, (last meal so to speak) they are supposed to purge the sand, then rinse and cook...They came out great, I wish I had pics as gorgeous as yours!!!
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