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Q: How do I open a clam?

A:  The key to opening the clam is to chill it thoroughly to relax the muscles by submerging them in ice or a freezer for at least 45 minutes.

  1. Hold a clam in your gloved palm, rounded-side up, with the shell’s hinge toward your wrist.
  2. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, press a clam knife or a dull paring knife into the gap between the shells.
  3. Twist the knife (moving the handle from horizontal to vertical) to separate the half-shells
  4. Cut the muscles on each side of the hinge, then cut the interior muscles to free the clam.
  5. Scrape away meat into the bottom shell.
  6. Remove and discard upper shell.

Q: How do I open an oyster?

A:  Note: For safety wear a heavy leather or mail glove.

  1. Hold the oyster in the palm of your hand
  2. Wash the oysters thoroughly under cold water.
  3. Place the edge of an oyster knife designed with a wedge shaped blade to withstand the pressure required to open oysters, against the outside edge between the shells.
  4. With the fingers, exert firm pressure against the knife blade, forcing it between the shells.
  5. To pry open the shell, run the knife around the edge of the shell to cut the muscle holding the valves together.
  6. Loosen the oyster from the lower shell; examine for shell fragments.

Q: How do you clean a crab?

A:  After cooking the crabs, drain them and let them cool for several minutes.

  1. Turn them over and examine their breastplate or apron. This part of the crab is hinged and easy to pull back. If it is long and narrow, you are eating a male crab. If it is much broader, it is a female.
  2. After lifting the plate, pry the top main shell part of the crustacean off and throw it away.
  3. Twist off the pincers and save them for cracking.
  4. Pull off and throw away the smaller pointy legs.
  5. Leave the last pair of flat appendages known as the backfins. You may notice yellowish gunk in the center of the crab. This is part of the crab’s reproductive structure. Some crab lovers consider this material a delicacy and others are repulsed by the notion and throw it away.
  6. On either side of the bottom half of the shell are feathery structures known as the “dead man.” These are the crab’s gills and absolutely should not be eaten. Pull them off and throw them away.
  7. Break the remaining shell in half, exposing the body and white backfin meat.
  8. With a pointed knife or your fingers, pick out your crab meat. If you are talented or experienced, you may be able to pull out the backfin meat by carefully pulling out the backfin appendages. If you are successful, you will have a large lump of crab meat dangling deliciously on the end of a leg, which you can use to dip into butter or cocktail sauce. When you clean the meat, be careful not to include the clear plastic-like divisions of the body, which are part of the crab’s skeleton.
  9. Using your cracking tool, break the crab’s pinchers and enjoy the darker, firm claw meat.
  10. Now that you've picked one crab, you can reflect on the effort it took to produce several bites of yummy crab meat—and a mound of crab remains.
  11. Time for crab No. 2!

Q: What is a soft shell crab?

A:  The soft shell is the blue crab in its molted state. The molting process means an abundant supply of soft crabs from late spring to early fall, with May through August ranking as the most productive months. The soft shell season is traditionally marked with the first full moon in May. At that time, the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate its summer growth. The actual shedding of the shell can take anywhere from one to three hours, after which it must be removed from water or the hardening process will continue, reducing the quality of the soft shell crab. Crabs shed at least several times during each growing season.

Q: What is the difference between a little neck and a top neck?

A:  A little neck will grow up to be a top neck then a cherrystone then a chowder clam.

Q: What is the difference between little necks and steamers?

A:  A little neck will grow up to be a top neck then a cherrystone then a chowder clam.

Q: What is a Chix?

A:  A Chix is a 1lb. lobster.

Q: Is a Chilean Sea Bass really from Chile?

A:  Yes!

Q: What is the difference between regular tuna and #1 tuna?

A:  Tuna are graded by oil and fat content. A #1 tuna has higher fat content and is considered more desirable and possess a creamier texture.

Q: How do I cook this?

A:  Quickly, quickly, quickly! Please keep in mind that seafood is a perishable item. All fish should be cooked and eaten in a timely manner or frozen immediately! Measure fish at its thickest part. For every inch of thickness, cook 10 minutes. If less than 1″ thick shorten cooking time proportionately. This timing works whether you are broiling, poaching or baking. But if food is cooked in foil or sauce, add 5 minutes per inch. And if you plan to cook it frozen, double cooking time to 20 minutes per inch.

Q: Where is your food from?

A:  Boulevard Clams sells seafood from New Jersey, Florida, Maine, Alaska, Chile and many other places thanks to modern day refrigeration and transportation.

Q: How can I tell if it is fresh?

A:  When buying fish fillets or steaks, look for translucent fish that is consistent in brightness and color.
In all cases flesh should be firm and elastic, springing back rapidly when pressed with your finger. But the most important, and misunderstood, characteristic is odor. Fresh fish will not have a strong “fishy” or sour odor, but will have a fresh ocean or seaweed scent.

Q: Why should I eat more seafood?

A:  Jersey fresh seafood may not make you smarter, but it is certainly smart eating, both to stay in shape and to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of high quality, complete protein, many valuable minerals and essential B-Complex, A and D vitamins. Both freshwater and saltwater fish are low enough in sodium to be acceptable for low sodium diets. Most fish are low calorie foods and while fish are generally low in fat, these are mainly polyunsaturated fats – which are of increasing importance to Americans.