Culinary Arts Project

Lobsters, Mussels, Scallops, Clams, Oysters and a Snail – Day 14


  • Shuck your oyster with the round side down, this way when you finally get it open the juice stays in the “cup”.
  • When soaking your mussels before cooking, throw in a spoonful of flour, they actually absorb/eat it and become much more plump.
  • The ideal lobster weight is 2-3 pounds. Below one pound is illegal, and above 3, the meat starts to get tough.

It was a bit of sad day for many of us. We picked up our squirming lobster from the fridge, laid him/her down on our cutting boards – still squirming, looked them right in the eye, found the ‘t’ behind the head, took the point of our chef’s knife, and “in, down and forward”, and our lobster (who has “the brain the size of a cockroach”) was no more.

Chef Veronica and the lobster's last minute on this earth
Chef Veronica and the lobster’s last minute on this earth

There were no shrieks or faintings (as apparently there are some times) but it certainly wasn’t for everyone. Once the “deed” was done, we prepared a wonderful Lobster a L’Americaine (lobster meat, drenched in a tomato/brandy/wine, stock, flambe, herb sauce). Delicious. Much better than the traditional lobster in butter.

Then it was a different takes on the classic moules mariniere. These we cooked in a white wine sauce traditionally, but then took them out of their shell, reduced down the white wine sauce to a syrop, mounted with butter, and placed each mussel back on a half shell and layered in the sauce. Pretty work-intensive, but was much more tasty than typical mussels, and certainly much better than the ones I had a Markt (a Belgium specialty restaurant) last week.

Chef Joe critiques our mussels.
Chef Joe critiques our mussels.

Next we seared scallops and served over a parsley coulis. We reduced a short bouillon, thickened it with a butter which had been flavoured with the liver of the lobster, added a parsley puree (to get the green look), and used the “drop and drag” sauce presentation method, where you “drop” a spoonful of sauce of the plate, and then “drag” your spoon across the plate for a nice pattern. Pretty, but didn’t match the taste of the lobster or mussels. We also got a demo from Chef Joe on snails, and how to shuck oysters and clams. I finally managed to get my oyster to open. The mignonette sauce (cracked pepper, minced shallots and vinegar) was delicious.

Tomorrow it’s chickens, I hope we don’t have to take out our butcher knife for them too! Off to study for the exam tomorrow.

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1 reply on “Lobsters, Mussels, Scallops, Clams, Oysters and a Snail – Day 14”

Hi Stewart: Does someone do the cleaning up for you or are you responsible for doing that yourself? Also, how often do you have to ‘sharpen’ or just touch-up your knives with a steel? Does the kitchen have a sharpener to use when needed? Do the knives go in the dishwasher or are they hand-washed?

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