Fricassee of Shellfish


  • 1 1/4 lb mussels
  • 32 littleneck clams
  • 32 Manila clams
  • 12 bay scallops in the shell
  • 12 oysters
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 tbsps fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 12 tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 - 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste, freshly ground
  • fresh parsley to taste, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the shellfish in salted water and clean the beards from the mussels. Set aside in the refrigerator. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until it is fluffy. Beat in the garlic, shallots, parsley, white wine and pepper. Mix until completely smooth and set aside. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes. Force the puree through the fine screen of a food mill or a fine-meshed sieve. You should have about 3 cups of tomato puree. Set aside. Just before serving, add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all shellfish except for oysters. Cover and steam just until the shellfish open. At the same time, in a large saucepan, bring the tomato puree to a boil, then stir in the heavy cream. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the garlic-herb butter to the tomato mixture. Raise heat to high and boil until the mixture has emulsified; set aside and keep warm. To shuck oysters, place 1 oyster, curved side down, on a work surface with the hinge end of the oyster facing you. Insert an oyster knife or beer can opener into the gap at the hinge. Press down on the handle while holding the oyster with your other hand, and the hinge will pop open. Insert a small knife inside the top shell where the muscle is attached and scrape through the muscle to release the oyster. Lift up the front of the top shell and bend it toward the hinge to snap it free. Place the oysters in a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 1 minute. Divide the shellfish and oysters equally among 4 large, deep plates. Strain the cooking juices from the shellfish into the butter sauce. Season with salt and a good amount of pepper. Add lemon juice and minced parsley. Spoon the sauce over the hot shellfish and serve.

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