Cooking Seafood 101

How to Boil a Lobster

1. Choose your lobsters. Hard-shell, cold-water specimens are best.

2. Add peeled and chopped carrot and onion as well as chopped celery to a large pot (a three-gallon model is right for two lobsters), plus 1 beer or 1 cup of dry white wine; 2 gallons of water; and 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring liquid to a boil.

3. Remove the rubber bands from the claws while holding the lobster around the sides of the body. Drop into the pot headfirst and cover immediately, keeping the heat on high. The lobsters should be completely submerged.

4. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. –D.B.

How to Shuck an Oyster (Web Bonus: Watch a video demo!)

1. Choose oysters with firm, closed shells that feel heavy for their size. Wash thoroughly and let dry. (Do not let them sit in fresh water.)

2. Place the oyster on a flat surface with the flatter shell facing up and the more-cupped shell facing down.

3. Angle an oyster knife and gently insert it into the back hinge between the shells, firmly pushing the tip of the knife into the hinge. Protect your nonwielding hand with a thick glove or kitchen towel.

4. Turn the handle toward you about 45 degrees; the shell should pop open slightly. Slide the knife from the back to the front of the top shell to sever the adductor muscle. Remove the top shell.

5. Slide the knife under the bottom muscle to cut it away from the shell. Serve in the cup-shaped bottom shell.–D.B.

How to Roast a Whole Fish

1. Select a fish (red snapper and black bass work well). Your fishmonger can scale it.

2. Rinse the fish, including the body cavity. Lay it on a kitchen towel and pat dry.

3. Remove fins and gills using kitchen scissors.

4. Score the fish with a knife, making five parallel 1-inch cuts. Don’t cut too deeply into the flesh

5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the fish with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Lightly coat a casserole dish with olive oil, add herbs to the bottom, and lay the fish on top.

6. Place the dish in the oven’s center. After 18 minutes, check doneness by inserting a fork behind the head. The fork should move easily when twisted. Remove from the oven, garnish with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt, and serve. —C. P.

How to Grill Calamari

1. Rinse the calamari tubes (about five per person) under cold water, pat dry, and lay on a flat surface.

2. Press and slide your finger along the exterior of the tube, flattening it from the tip toward the opening, to force out any debris.

3. Insert your finger into the tube to loosen and remove any plastic-like cartilage.

4. Place calamari into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

5. Prepare a hot grill. Lay the calamari on the grill in a single layer, with about a quarter- to a half-inch of space between pieces. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until slightly charred. (The tubes will shrink by about a quarter-inch and may release bubbles.)

6. Transfer tubes to a cutting board and slice into thin rings. –C. P.

How to Steam Clams

1. Rinse 16 to 18 countneck clams in cold water. (Parsons likes to get his from Woodbury Shellfish in Wellfleet.)

2. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat.

3. Add three cloves of garlic (smashed), toasting until fragrant; 1 inch of white wine; a splash of chicken stock; a few black peppercorns; and some parsley stems. Cover and increase heat to high, bringing liquid to a rapid boil.

4. Add clams, and cover.

5. Remove clams from heat just as they pop open and stir in chopped parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. Discard any clams that have not opened. –C.P.


Web Exclusive: Practice your technique with these seafood recipes!