Chef Tim Says...

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Dr. Tim Says...

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Chef Tim Says....

In Your Pantry: Shellfish

What should I have in my kitchen?

For the last few weeks I have been writing about the healthiest choices for you to make at the grocery store.

I chose to start with meats because most people feel that red meat is not all that healthy and I wanted to make sure to show that there are great choices like this Skirt Steak recipe. Eating red meat is OK about once per week and you should make it an event by choosing the best cuts.

Today I am moving on to fish -- specifically shellfish. This is another area of confusion for a lot of folks but all fish is good for you and has been shown time and again in research to prevent (and even reverse) heart disease.


I love shrimp and choose it pretty often. It’s quick and easy and delicious. I can’t tell you how many questions I get at Ask Dr. Gourmet about shrimp and cholesterol, however. Shrimp does have a lot of cholesterol, but it’s very low in fat (especially saturated fat) and the single most important thing in a healthy diet is not eating less cholesterol but limiting the amount of saturated fat.

I try not to purchase shrimp if I am not going use it pretty quickly. I have a medium sized plastic container that I have fitted with a steamer basket. I place ice in the steamer and then the shrimp on top of the ice. There’s room left over for the lid to seal the container tightly. The ice then melts into the bottom of the container so the shrimp don’t get water-logged. (More on choosing shrimp.) Try my newest shrimp recipe, Shrimp Primavera with Angel Hair Pasta.

Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are one of my favorite foods. They are sweet, succulent, meaty and so satisfying. You should make sea scallops a part of your regular menus. A four ounce serving of scallops has only 100 calories and less than a gram of fat.

Sea scallops are widely available fresh these days. They should be a translucent creamy color (some are slightly pink). It’s best to look for scallops labeled “chemical free” because treated scallops have a bitter taste. For more on scallops visit the sea scallops ingredient page.

Bay Scallops

Certainly bay scallops are related to sea scallops, but there’s a great difference in choosing them as well as how they taste. In the 1980s most of the population of true bay scallops were killed off by a toxic algae.

Most of what is available today are “calico” scallops that are from the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. These don’t have the same sweetness that Atlantic bay scallops are famous for. It’s very hard to find fresh bay scallops and what is in your fish counter have likely been thawed. Ask when they were and look for the same creamy white and translucent color as with sea scallops.

Like sea scallops, bay scallops are very good for you. Low in fat and calories but full of taste, I like this Bay Scallops with White Wine and Herbed Butter recipe.

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Dr. Gourmet
May 07, 2007