Shellfish opens up

Operators use shellfish to provide quality and flavor to customers.

Published in FSD Update

Lindsey Ramsey, Contributing Editor

Be it crabs, mussels, clams, scallops or—the big daddy of all shellfish—lobster, operators have come up with endless ways to incorporate these invertebrates into their menus. But it’s the satisfaction these dishes give customers that operators say makes any extra cost or labor associated with serving these sea creatures worth it.

Lobster is, obviously, a huge deal at the University of Maine, in Orono, says Glenn Taylor, director of culinary services. Along with a yearly lobster feed, where the department usually orders about 2,000 of the crustaceans, Taylor says the department incorporates lobster wherever it can. Taylor’s team has used leftover lobsters from the event to make dishes like lobster ravioli. Using premade pasta sheets, the team made a filling with lobster, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, scallions, parsley, dill, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. The pasta was folded up, brushed with an egg wash and served with a sauce made from the boiled down lobster bodies, heavy cream, white wine and shallots.

“We’ve also done a seafood carbonara, which included Maine lobster, scallops and shrimp,” Taylor says. “Otherwise it was a very traditional [carbonara] with bacon, onion, garlic and egg.” The team also makes a seafood paella that features lobster, shrimp and mussels. The dish is made with a little olive oil, onions, garlic, turmeric, white wine, vegetable stock, tomatoes, capers, red pepper strips and rice.

Beyond Maine’s signature shellfish, Taylor says his team has served a seafood Creole, which included Maine shrimp, scallops and haddock, plus garlic, onions, celery, cayenne pepper, tomato purée, green and red diced peppers, chorizo sausage, sherry, thyme, roux, basil and Worcestershire sauce. Another popular preparation is the department’s lemon grass mussels, which is a combination of Maine mussels, shallots, garlic, white wine, butter, parsley, tarragon, lemon grass and thyme.

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