Did you know that shellfish is classed as organ meat because you eat the whole thing? Well not the shell, obvs, but I think you know what I mean!
Between the tightly closed shells of these bivalves you will find a huge nutritionally dense powerhouse, consisting of highly rich sources of zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and B vitamins (especially B12). Shellfish are also an important source of betaine, which is an essential nutrient for supporting the methyl cycle and improving liver function and serotonin production. It's good to know that they are a rich source of omega-3 and amino acids which are very readily absorbed and, last but not least, if your gut is particularly sensitive and in need of TLC, you will find shellfish extremely easy to digest (more so than meat). *
Since finding out all this info, I've been incorporating shellfish into our diet on a far more regular basis and once again am thankful that living on the PNW offers us plentiful and therefore cost effective supplies. Not only that, they are utterly toothsome and, in the case of this recipe, perfect when given some Asian flavours to sit alongside in a bowl. We love using an empty shell as a pincer utensil, resorting to a spoon only to finish off the heavenly liquid residue.
Btw if you're a thyroid disease sufferer, I hope you've seen and read about the free week long Hashimoto's Summit that's just kicked off today. I actually think it could be a useful listen for all autoimmune disease sufferers, so bear that in mind. It does seem sometimes that there's a summit every other week but despite the risk of overloading you, I'm also giving a heads up on the Alzheimer's and Dementia Summit that will be starting towards the end of July - sadly this is a subject close to my own heart so you can bet I'll be putting the date in my own diary.
And finally have you heard of Snatum Kaur, or am I way behind everyone else? I listened to her interview on CBC yesterday and fell in love with her voice. I need this in my life and strongly urge you to pull up a seat, close your eyes and soak up some beautiful, chanting meditation music. And breathe!
* source: The Paleo Approach, by Dr Sarah Ballantyne.
mussels, clams and shrimps in a fragrant broth with kelp noodles
Be sure to have everything prepped and ready before you start cooking, this happens pretty quickly!
Print the recipe here
2 lb clams
2 lb mussels
3 cloves garlic
3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer parts discarded and roughly chopped
1+1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken or fish bone broth
8 medium white shrimp, shell off and de-veined *
1 packet kelp noodles, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leafed parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Clean the mussels and clams thoroughly in clean running water, removing the beards and discarding any that are cracked or feel heavy compared to the rest.
Put the the garlic, lemongrass and ginger into a blender with 5 tbsp filtered water and blitz to a smooth paste. Heat a large sauté pan (that has a lid) and pour in the olive oil. Add the shallots and sweat on a gentle heat for 3 minutes until they are beginning to soften. Now stir in the paste, turn the heat up a little and cook a further 3-4 minutes until fragrant and any excess moisture has evaporated. Do not allow to colour.
Turn up the heat to high, add the broth and bring up to a boil. Now add the mussels and clams, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 4 minutes or so, shaking the pan from time to time. The shellfish are cooked when they have opened up, any that remain closed after this time should be discarded. Tip the contents of the skillet into a colander set over a large bowl and return the liquor to the pan. Add the prawns and noodles, bring the liquor up to a simmer and cook for a minute or two until the prawns are cooked through. Return the shellfish to the pan, or if it isn't quite large enough, put everything into a large serving dish and give it a good mix. Scatter over the herbs and serve immediately with forks and soup spoons, plus two large bowls - an empty one to collect the shells, the other with warmed water and a squeeze of lemon juice to rinse your hands afterwards.
* Try your hardest to buy sustainably caught shrimp without chemicals or preservatives, it's always a good idea to ask your supplier where they source theirs from.
Thanks for publishing this delicious recipe! I've been looking for a way to get more shellfish into my low-histamine, low-FODMAP, AIP diet, and this recipe fit the bill. I couldn't get fresh clams or mussels, so I used frozen versions of both. Not quite as pretty, perhaps, but still fantastic. My husband loved it too.
I used a tip I found elsewhere to soften the kelp noodles: soak in 1 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp lemon juice for 1-2 minutes, then drain and rinse.
Also, I added a bit of lemon juice and about 2 tsp maple syrup to moderate the ginger flavor a bit when I reheated the leftovers, and next time I'll add those in as I'm cooking.
So happy this is a recipe that works for you. Great tip about the baking soda/lemon juice for the noodles, I'll give that a try next time!