Only eat shellfish in months that have the letter ‘R’.
Have you heard this before? Fact or fiction?
If this is true, it means we shouldn’t be eating any shellfish during the summer months. What?! I mean come on – the summer is when I crave it the most! Are you with me on this one?
So what’s the deal? Well it appears to have to so something with the red tides. This is when there’s a high concentration of toxic algae and this typically occurs during the summer months. If we happen to eat any shellfish that’s absorbed high levels of this toxin well – you’re not going to feel so good.
Another theory is that the summertime is usually when they spawn. This can make the flesh less than ideal tasting. Another issue is that shellfish spoil more quickly in the summer months.
But guess what? This is pretty dated advice and we’ve come a long way in the past hundreds of years. For one we’ve got refrigeration! We certainly have much better means of storing shellfish than they did hundreds of years ago. And to avoid the problem of bad tasting fertile shellfish, most vendors import from cooler waters or harvest from non-spawning farms.
So what about the red tides? While this is a valid issue, nowadays red tides levels are closely monitored. Harvesting during those times is not permitted and the toxins are closely monitored to prevent them from getting to harmful levels. And since most shellfish is commercially harvested, regulations are in place to eliminate any hazards.
Oh man I certainly feel better, don’t you? I mean summer wouldn’t be the same without cracking into some crab legs, or chowing down on a big bowl of Clams & Chorizo – you know?
Bottom line? As long as you’re not harvesting your own during the summer, go ahead enjoy that shellfish!
What’s your favorite type of shellfish to eat during the summer?
- 50ct bag of clams
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large chorizo links, casings removed
- 1 lb. baby gold potatoes, sliced into ¼ inch disks
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup white wine
- pinch of saffron
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- salt & pepper
- 5 oz baby kale or spinach
- garlic scapes or green onions, optional
- Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes. This helps remove any sand and salt inside the shells.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan brown the chorizo in olive oil.
- When the chorizo are almost completely cooked, add the potato slices, shallots and garlic.
- Add paprika and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the potatoes start to soften and then begin to brown. You'll want to push the potatoes to the bottom of the pan to get them brown and to soak of the chorizo flavor.
- While the potatoes are cooking, soak a couple threads of saffron in the vegetable broth.
- When the potatoes are almost done cooking, add white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Stir in baby kale or spinach.
- Drain the clams and add to pan.
- Add vegetable-saffron broth and cover. Cook until the clams have opened, about 8 minutes.
- Discard clams that have not opened.
- Top with garlic scapes or green onions, optional.
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