Edible shells: clams, mussels, scallops, oysters and gastropods
For a resident of the coast, edible shells are as familiar as the sound of a surf. However, in the depths of the continent, this is undoubtedly a luxury, requiring both money and a worthy excuse.
And the season of most edible shells falls on the cold season.
But seashells can be poisoned, and very serious. Therefore, you need to be able to choose and properly prepare them, which requires both skills and some artistry.
Cooks and seafood sellers call shells «Clem«, But this name does not refer to all shells, but only to their two groups — sandy and hard shells.
Sinks first — actually sandy shells, rasivnits and sea cuttings — do not close until the end, and in any such shell is full of sand.
It must be removed. The best way: the shells should be lowered into a bucket of salt water — the ratio of salt and water 1:10 — and placed overnight in the refrigerator. If you do not have this amount of free time, put them in a bowl and rinse with water until sand stops appearing at the bottom of the bowl.
In extreme cases, if you have not removed the sand from the shells before cooking, you can do it after.
Cut the meat out of them and lower it into the decoction — the sand will sink to the bottom of the pan in a few minutes.
Hard shells come in different sizes and colors, but are conventionally divided into three types. The first is the smallest known as «young tough shells«, A maximum of 5 cm in diameter; the second is actually hard shells, from 5 to 8 cm, and the last is so-called shells for soup, sometimes fanning them to the size of a large computer mouse.
It is not necessary to wash them at all. The shells of all these mollusks open when heated, but they can also be opened with a knife, inserting the blade between the doors opposite the lock, and then passing them between the doors.
Make it harder than to tell, but over time comes the ability.
As for the definition of quality and hard, and sandy shells, it is standard. The only rule is: the smaller the shells, the tastier and more aromatic.
But the larger, the less hassle and more meat.
Before you start cooking, mussels need to be sorted out, and most importantly — do not be greedy.
If the sink is slightly open, tap on it with your finger — it should close slowly but firmly; if it doesn’t close, throw it away.
In addition, get rid of mussels with broken shells, as well as from too light or heavy — they are light, because they are empty, but they are heavy, because with silt.
Preparing mussels for cooking is easy. If they have a “beard”, scrape it off with a knife (or just tear it off with your fingers). Then put the mussels in the pan and place for 1 hour under a stream of cold water.
Yes, by the way, mussels that have not opened in the heat treatment process, also discard.
Scallops are small (about 7 cm in diameter), large, known as Saint-Jacques (15 cm) and … sea, which are even more. Be aware that they are sometimes treated with a solution. sodium tripolyphosphate, and their weight increases by 25%. It is not harmful to human health, but when heated, such a scallop begins to release absorbed water — the very 25%.
A distinctive feature of the victims of tripolyphosphate is the bright white color of the meat (by nature, the scallops have a slightly creamy tinge, in some cases increasing to pale orange or pale pink).
Imported scallops that have avoided such a chemical attack must be labeled as dry scallops.
By the way, scallops are the very rare case when freezing does not make the product worse. The only minus of frozen scallops is that you only have at your disposal the meat itself.
Meanwhile, scallops also have caviar bags — also very tasty and hellishly healthy. Therefore, if there is a case, be sure to buy a scallop in the sink. They open up with little effort with a small knife.
You just need to gently scrape off the meat from the lower half of the shell, cut off the white muscle-lock from the side and remove the dark insides.
The world of oysters is described in the most thorough way; unfortunately, these descriptions in isolation from practice are unbearably boring, and practice is difficult.
Therefore, let’s understand at least the basics, so as not to spoil your holiday.
First, a live oyster must be muscular, but the nature of this activity may be different. If the oyster was transported as it should, it wakes up slowly, and if you touch the edge of its mantle, it moves away with dignity. But if the oyster moves as if scalded, it means that during transportation it was shaken, woken, heated or frozen — and in this connection there is nothing to say about the true taste.
Do not eat it, take pity — it is already so tormented, and you no joy.
It is equally important to understand what any beautiful words and digits that you read in the menu mean, because the state of your wallet directly depends on it. Say, «Special de Claire» No. 3 or No. 5 …
Let’s start with numbers.
Oysters are numbered according to weight: the smallest receive No. 5, and the largest — numbers 0 and 00.
It should be borne in mind that for different varieties of oysters, these numbers have different values, but No. 3 will always be smaller than No. 1.
What means «claire«? This is such a pool, connected to the sea by a narrow canal. Oysters are transplanted from the sea into the clolers and kept there in order to improve the taste.
The procedure is called «refining”, And it must be clearly understood that it can be dug up anywhere, but it will only make sense on the island of Oléron and on the coast of the Marenn d’Oleron Bay, in the department of Charente-Maritime.
And if someone woodesh you oysters from Brittany or Normandy, saying that they are “de claire,” do not be fooled.
Then the most difficult: «special«And»fin«. «Special«Means» special «,»fin«-» refined «. However, in the world of oysters, these words have several meanings.
If we are talking about a clam native to the Marenn d’Oléron region, called the “Special de Clair,” it means that it was kept in clever for 2 months at a density of a maximum of 10 mollusks per square meter. «Fin de Claire» are maintained less and with more frequent landing.
For oysters grown in other regions, the words “special” and “fin” mean only the density coefficient, calculated using the formula “the mass of meat taken out of 20 oysters of one caliber, divided by the mass of the same oysters whole and multiplied by 100”.
And no “de claire”, no “refining”!
Remember these few concepts and do not let tricky manufacturers confuse themselves.
Speaking of edible shells, it is necessary to mention gastropods.
First of all rapan.
The situation with them is controversial. In Russia, they are listed in the Red Book, and any mining is prohibited. Whereas now in the Black Sea the rapana have multiplied in such a quantity that they threaten the livestock of the Black Sea mussels (but the livestock of the Black Sea scallops and oysters are not threatened, as they have already eaten all cleaned up).
Therefore, for the Black Sea, rapans are completely commercial animals.
Moreover, they are caught both in an organized and amateur way, which does not pose a great deal of difficulty — a diving mask, a fin and courage enough to dive three to four meters are enough.
To extract rapana from the shell, people act differently. If they want to keep the shell (and really beautiful) as a souvenir, then they take a small knife and cut the leg of the brine — that is the edible part, and then they scrape and throw out the leftovers.
If there are already so many shells that there is nowhere to go, then the rapana simply sinks into boiling water for about three minutes, and then the meat is removed from the inside with a fork or skewer.
In this case, you need to remove everything except the white leg, and to cook it.
Gastropod mollusk trumpeter — a little less Rapana, found far to the north, is not included in any environmental lists. But in culinary terms, the trumpeter and rapana are absolute analogues.
And if you already got the trumpeter out of the sink, immediately start cooking — otherwise it will disappear instantly.
Enough at least boil it for 10 minutes, and then freeze.
For storage live edible shells fold into a bowl, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate at 4 ° C.
The longer the shells lie, the worse their taste becomes, so it is better to boil them immediately after purchase, remove the meat and freeze.
Better yet, eat immediately.
Worst of all stored scallops — A maximum of 24 hours, and a bowl where they will lie, it is better to fill with ice. The remaining shells will hold on in this form of day 3-4.
Best of all, up to 5-6 days, oysters are stored.
It is believed that in months whose names do not contain the letter «p», there are oysters can not.
But this is just a tradition left over fromRegulation on fisheries regulation”, Signed by Louis XIV in 1771, and the subsequent police ban on selling oysters in Paris from April 30 to September 1.
These documents were taken to save the oysters as a species, because in the summer they spawn. However, the flat oysters that were common then, which were made bitter during the spawning period, were almost universally replaced with concave, or croesus, which spawning did not affect the taste.
In addition, oysters have been sold for quite some time. ”4 seasons», Which in principle are not“ dairy ”, and they can be eaten at any time.
Shells can be eaten raw, but most prefer to boil them at least slightly.
Here is the ranking of the fluids in which this can be done, in descending order of preference: a) strong fish broth; b) water in which mollusks, crabs or shrimps were boiled; c) broth from baked shrimp shells; d) light chicken broth; e) saturated vegetable broth; e) dry white wine, it can be added to any liquids; g) ordinary drinking water.