Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grilled Clams and Oysters

New England-style
Grilled Clams and Oysters
Low Sodium, Low Fat

Is there anything more ideal than grilling by the garden
the day after a romantic and picturesque Cape Cod summer wedding? My Aunt and Uncle's New England summer BBQ featured locally grown corn-on-the-cob, tomato-basil salad, steamed lobster, and Cape Cod's local clams and oysters cooked right on the grill. 

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful, with low humidity and a caressing, bug-less, summer breeze that kept us cool and refreshed. While the jubilant bride and groom were long on their way across the sea to honeymoon in Italy, family and friends gathered around tranquil flower and vegetable gardens, complete with garden statuarys, frog pond, and garden arbor. A wide, yellow umbrella shaded us from the bright, late day sun.

A mouthwatering array of locally grown vegetables enticed our palates. Fresh garden tomato-basil salad, made with tomatoes and basil picked fresh from my relatives' home garden. Sliced tomatoes and hand-torn basil leaves tossed with soft balls of creamy mozzarella were drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The delectable seafood Cape Cod is known for was a real treat. Have you ever tried to cook clams or oysters on the grill? This was our first time; it was easy and delicious. Here are the recipes:

Grilled Clams
Simply place rinsed clams over a hot grill and cook until they open; that's all there is to grilling clams. They steam in their natural juices and open when cooked. Remove the clams from the grill (we used tongs) as soon as they open. Try not to spill out the flavorful clam nectar. Pile the cooked clams in a serving bowl garnished with sliced lemon and fresh parsley. Serve with homemade cocktail sauce. 

Clam Nutrition
Clams are very low in sodium and saturated fat, and high in protein and vital nutrients. A small serving is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, Iron, Manganese and Selenium. Clams are also a good source of Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Copper. Shellfish contain cholesterol, yet can be part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. 

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: Calculated from USDA Nutrient values
Excellent source: Vitamin B12, Iron, Manganese, Selenium
Good source: Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Phosphorus, Copper
Serving size: 5 small clams (48g), Calories: 70; Protein: 12g (24%DV), Carbohydrates: 2; dietary Fiber 0 (0%DV); total Fat: 0 (0%DV); Omega-3: 188mg; Vitamin C: 11mg (18%DV), Riboflavin: .2mg (11%DV), Vitamin B12: 47mcg  (78%DV), Iron: 13mg (74%DV), Phosphorus: 161mg (16%DV), Sodium: 53mg (2%DV), Copper: .325mg (16%DV), Manganese: .5mg (24%DV), Selenium: 31mcg (44%DV), Cholesterol: 32mg (11%DV)

Harry's Grilled Oysters
My husband Harry was eager to recreate his version of the fantastic chargrilled oysters he had at Drago's Seafood Restaurant while in New Orleans... but first, he had to learn how to shuck an oyster. My cousin Richard, an expert oyster shucker - who grew up on Cape Cod - quickly showed him how. "It gets easier, the more you open," Rich told us.

Once shucked, and the top shells removed (garden note: oyster shells make lovely borders in the garden), it was time to whip up a butter sauce. 

Garlic butter sauce
As you know, butter adds fat. To add flavor with less saturated fat, melt the butter using 1/3 butter blended with 2/3 oil. Harry added garlic too, with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (one of Drago's secret ingredients). Next time, we'll add a squeeze of lemon, a splash of hot sauce and a pinch of fresh herbs to make the butter sauce even more amazing. 
  • Drizzle garlic butter over the oysters on the half shell, place on a hot grill
  • Grill just long enough to heat through
  • Serve immediately
Oyster Nutrition   
According to The National Institutes of Health, oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food. Six medium oysters have a whopping 77mg of zinc, 7 times the RDA! The RDA of zinc for men (age 19+) is 11 mg. The RDA of zinc for women (age 19+) is 8 mg (pregnancy, slightly higher: 11 mg). 

In addition to zinc, oysters (mollusks) are an excellent source of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Copper and Selenium. Oysters are also a good source of Protein, Magnesium and Manganese. As previously mentioned, shellfish can be high in cholesterol if you over indulge - enjoy in moderation.

GardenCuizine Nutrition AnalysisCalculated from USDA Nutrient values
Excellent source: Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium
Good source: Protein, Magnesium, Manganese
Serving size: 6 medium (84g) wild eastern mollusks, Calories: 57, Total Fat: 2.1g, Protein: 5.9g (12%DV), Vitamin D: 269IU (67%DV), Vitamin B12: 16.3mcg (275%DV WOW!), Iron: 5.6mg (31%DV), Magnesium: 39.5mg (10%DV), Phosphorus: 113mg (11%DV), Sodium: 177mg (7%DV), Zinc: 76.3mg (509%DV Incredible!), Copper: 3.7mg (187%DV), Manganese: 0.3mg (15%DV), Selenium: 53.5mcg (76%DV), Cholesterol: 44.5mg (15%DV)

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values for adults and children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.   

Buon Appetito! 

Congratulations Kristine and Matt! 
Thank you Aunt Jo, Uncle Richard, Richard, Brenna, and Philip
Related Links 
Grilled Oysters by Jaden, Steamy Kitchen
Are Shrimp and Shellfish still considered bad if you have high Cholesterol?
Photos and blog article Copyright 2011 Wind. All rights reserved.  rev 11/18/11