Seafood can seem intimidating to prep, but all it takes is a little practice. We take the guesswork out of getting your seafood ready for the pot or pan with these easy steps.


Lobster

If you’ve never shelled a lobster – fear not! The right tools and a little confidence is all you need to tackle that big red crustacean. If you’d like a visual guide, check out our video.

What you’ll need:

  • Sturdy kitchen scissors or shears
  • A lobster or nut cracker
  • A seafood fork
  • A chef’s knife

Start by placing the cooked lobster on a clean, flat surface. To remove the tail, claws and legs, simply twist and pull away from the body. Removing the tail meat is a cinch: flip it over and cut down the middle of the tail with scissors, then pull the meat out. To remove the claw meat, use the back of a chef’s knife to crack the claw and access the meat. Any remaining meat in the lobster can be removed using a lobster cracker and seafood fork.


Mussels

This easy-to-prepare member of the mollusk family makes a quick and elegant dinner. Just remember to properly clean and de-beard them before cooking.

What you’ll need:

  • A colander
  • A stiff-bristled brush

In a colander, rinse – but don’t soak – fresh mussels under cool water. Sort through the mussels and discard any with cracked shells. Mussels with open shells should be tapped lightly – keep only if the shell closes once tapped, otherwise discard. If they’re sandy, you’ll want to give them a quick scrub with the stiff-bristled brush. Mussels may have a small fibre (called a beard) hanging out of its shell – this needs to be removed before cooking. Firmly grasp the mussel in one hand and use your free hand to pull the beard out using a wiggling downward motion.


Clams

Another member of the mollusk clan, clams are even easier to clean than mussels. The trick is getting them to release the sand inside their shells. Fun fact: fresh clams are typically much sandier than farmed clams.

What you’ll need:

  • A large bowl
  • Cornmeal or salt

Put clams into a bowl and cover them with plenty of cool water. Adding a pinch of cornmeal or salt to the water will help the clams expel any sand they hold. Let the clams sit in the water for up to an hour. When you’re ready to cook, pluck the clams out of the bowl individually and rinse under cool water to remove any remaining sand. Discard clams with open or cracked shells.


Shrimp

As they’re one of the most popular members of the crustacean family, there are many choices when it comes to buying shrimp. Size varies, as does the degree to which the shrimp have been prepared for you – cooked or uncooked, peeled and deveined, tail on, etc. It’s important to check the packaging to make sure you have the right shrimp for your dish.

What you’ll need:

  • A paring knife

To peel shrimp, start by pulling off the legs. Once removed, the shell should easily peel away from the body. To devein shrimp, make a shallow incision along the back exposing the vein (the thin black line running along the back). Use the tip your knife to expose the vein up and out of the shrimp.


Salmon

Bringing a big, beautiful piece of salmon home from the store is always a treat. But before you get cooking, the pin bones and skin need to be removed.

What you’ll need:

  • Fish tweezers or clean needle-nose pliers
  • A boning knife

Start by running your hands along the salmon fillet. If there are any pin bones, you’ll feel them sticking out. Use your fish tweezers or pliers to pull the bones out with a quick, firm movement. To remove the skin from your fillet, place the fish skin side-down on your cutting board. Start at the narrow (tail end) of the fillet. First, make a cut in the flesh until you reach the skin. Then slide your knife under the length of the fillet, separating the skin and flesh. Keep your knife angled down toward the skin, as this will reduce the amount of flesh you waste.