...Blue Mussels attach themselves to rocks, shells, pilings and other hard surfaces with their “beards?” These beards are actually called byssus threads, and should be removed before cooking. The Blue Mussel’s smooth shell is an elongated triangle with rounded edges. Growth rings on these creatures’ shells show their age, and full maturation takes one to five years. They can be found in both polar and temperate waters around the world.
Cultured Blue Mussels are pre-cleaned prior to distribution; however, remove any of the “beard”, or Byssus threads that remain, and always give the mussels a quick rinse prior to cooking. The fresh water should cause living mussels to close, at least partially. Discard any shells that fail to do so or are visually chipped or broken. Blue Mussels are typically steamed in water, wine or broth which can contain a wide variety of herbs and spices. Blue Mussels cook very quickly, and are finished when all Mussels have opened.
...the oversized, gaping mouth of the Monkfish accounts for a large portion of its body? This fascinating creature waves a spike-like apparatus called its “esca” in front of its mouth like bait to lure its prey. Monkfish can grow to just over three feet in length, and have been known to eat prey nearly half their size – including water birds! While this fish may not be a handsome fellow, it certainly is a highly regarded and delicious treat. The entire Monkfish rarely makes it back to shore, as its only edible qualities are its liver and tail. The slightly sweet, dense tail meat of this bottom dweller is very similar to that of a lobster in taste and texture.
Live lobsters can live for up to 24 hours in your refrigerator or cooler? Simply keep them moist with wet paper towels or newspaper at 33–40o F—they will suffocate when immersed in water or ice. Found throughout the North Atlantic, American lobsters are harvested in mesh traps from depths of 15 to 1,000 feet. They can range in size from “chickens” (1–1-1/8 pounds) to “jumbos” (more than 3-1/2 pounds). Regardless of size, consider banding their claws...even the little ones pack a mighty pinch.
Lobster cooking is very subjective, but sound arguments can be made for steaming (gentle heat), boiling (to seal in flavor) and even baking. For 1-1/4 pound lobsters, cook approximately 12–15 minutes; for larger specimens, cook about 17 minutes.
The Inuit people of Canada have enjoyed arctic char for thousands of years, freezing the fish and eating them
like popsicles? A member of the salmon and trout family, they have silvery skin dappled with blue and pink along
the lateral line, with shades of blue and green on their upper sides. Arctic char migrate from icy northern lakes throughout Europe, Asia, and North America to spawn in salt water. The typical market size of arctic char is between 2 and 8 pounds.
Blessed with a salmon-like texture and mild-tasting flesh, char is perfect for those who find its cousin too strong
in flavor. Like trout, filleted char can be grilled, broiled, baked, smoked or poached—just remember to remove the thick, leathery cooked skin before serving.