Shellfish

Shellfish

Shellfish include crustaceans (crabs and shrimp), mollusks (clams) and cephalopods (octopuses and squid).

abalone
abalone
Asian markets are a good place to find these. Prod them gently before buying to make sure they're alive. The smaller ones are better. Canned or dried abalones are acceptable substitutes for fresh in some dishes. Unopened canned abalone can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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bay scallops
bay scallops
Shopping hints: These are easier to find in the East than in the West. Frozen scallops are a good substitute for fresh.
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blue crab
blue crab
These are found on the Atlantic coast. They're small, but otherwise similar to Dungeness crabs. When they molt, they're called soft-shelled crabs, a wonderful delicacy that can be eaten shell and all
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canal shrimp
canal shrimp
These are popular in Japan, where they're often served as tempura.
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clam
clam
See also pismo clam, soft-shell clam, razor clam, Manila clam, hard-shell clam, bar clam, and geoduck clam. Storage: Unopened canned clams can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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conch
conch
This is popular in Florida and the Caribbean. In other regions, your best bet is to look in Asian or Italian markets.
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crab
crab
Eat fresh crab the day you buy it. Unopened canned crab can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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crayfish
crayfish
Crayfish are very popular in Louisiana, where restaurants serve them on large platters along with bowls of melted butter. Buy live ones if you can; if not, large supermarkets sometimes stock frozen whole crayfish or crayfish tails. Get the whole crayfish if possible--most of the flavor resides in the shells. Allow one to two pounds per person.
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cuttlefish
cuttlefish
This is a close relative of squid and octopus. You can sometimes find dried cuttlefish in Asian markets.
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Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab
Found on the Pacific coast, the Dungeness is a large crab highly prized for its sweet meat.
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hard-shell clam
hard-shell clam
Littleneck clams are smaller than cherrystone clams which are smaller than quahog clams = quahaug clams = chowder clams which are smaller than ocean quahog clams = ocean quahaug clams = mahogany clams = black clams.
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Jonah crab
Jonah crab
These are found in the coastal waters of New England.
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king crab
king crab
These have long, spindly legs and are found off the coast of Alaska and Japan.
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mussels
mussels
Storage: Unopened canned mussels can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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ormer
ormer
This is a variety of abalone found in the Mediterain and North Atlantic.
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oyster
oyster
The French like to serve these raw in the shell, with just a squirt of fresh lemon juice, but they can also be fried, grilled, or gently poached. If you eat them raw, you'll need to shuck them first; an oyster knife comes in handy for this. Storage: Unopened canned oysters can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it.
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peekytoe crabs
peekytoe crabs
These small, highly prized crabs resemble Dungeness crabs, only they're much smaller. It's hard to find whole crabs, but many seafood shops in New England sell peekytoe crab meat.
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periwinkle
periwinkle
These marine snails are better known in Europe and Japan than in the United States. They're great in any clam chowder recipe, though they tend to get tough if overcooked. Look for them in Asian markets.
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pismo clam
pismo clam
pismos are highly regarded.
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Prince Edward Island mussel
Prince Edward Island mussel
These farmed-raised mussels are sweet and beardless.
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sea slug
sea slug
comes dried or fresh
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shrimp
shrimp
There are many different species of shrimp, but generally speaking, the larger the shrimp, the tastier. In the US and Britain, large shrimp are called prawns; in India, all shrimp are prawns. Bay shrimp are very small. You can buy shrimp raw (sometimes called green), or cooked. Don't buy cooked shrimp if you plan to serve it warm--they turns rubbery when reheated. Unopened canned shrimp can be stored for up to a year in a dry, cool place. Once opened, it will keep for up to two days if you wrap it well and refrigerate it
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snow crab
snow crab
This is an East Coast version of the king crab.
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soft-shell clam
soft-shell clam
steamer Includes: Highly regarded Maine steamers and Long Island steamers, and less esteemed Maryland steamers.
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stone crab
stone crab
This is found on the East Coast, especially in Florida. Just the claws are harvested. Substitutes: claws of blue crabs
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surimi
surimi
Imitation crab meat. It is normally made from processed fish meat.
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